The focus of the organization since the beginning of its journey has been very vivid and clear when it came to empowerment of the women. The organization realised that nothing could be achieved unless the scattered lot of women is brought together and formally binding them to the mission. This vision gave way to the women SHG/Cooperative formation which started with bringing together the Fisherwomen folk of Mithilanchal. Being a culturally conservative place, it was never a cake walk moving forward. The women were initially hesitant enough due to lack of self confidence in themselves followed by the male dominance society which never understood and supported such kind of empowerment which was being extened to their women. Therefore, the struggle was very much amongst the community and family to which the organization and the women themselves had to break through. With the constant motivation of the organization, the women finally took strong stand for themselves and took the much required step of walking forward with a hope and desire of a better life as they realised that they had nothing to loose in the process, as their life was already miserable and in lack, so the conviction grew strong to give themselves this opportunity. The movement started and more and more Fisherwomen community joined in. The organization left no stone unturned and in fighting for the rights of theses women.
The objective was to mobilize these women into Self help groups and Co-operatives which till now only belonged to government and upper influential section of the society and these women were far away from realising that it was their right as a ‘Mallah’(fisher) community to have access to the ponds and carry out their livelihood activities and make their living in all the rightful ways.
It had been observed that 95% of income from the livelihood activities done by women/women’s groups directly benefits the family having an impact on their health, education and social status. Also, it was observed that the people of vested interest less easily influenced women. Therefore after a long struggle in 1997 a women’s cooperative named “Sahyogini Madhubani Mahila Matsyajeevi Sahayog Samiti Ltd” was registered at Block level. Unfortunately it became defunct due to the then Government policy of recognizing only one fishermen cooperative in one block for settlement of ponds and a Fishermen’s cooperative already existed in Andhrathari as Matsyajeevi Sahyog Samiti Ltd. Andhrathari.
Sakhiadvocated for change in the policy and it was reframed in 2006 to recognize maximum three fisheries cooperatives in one block. The fisherwomen cooperative was registered again with a different title “Andhrathari Prakhand Mahila Matasya Jivee Swawalambi Sahkari Samiti Ltd” at block level having membership of more than 232 women till March 2009. The gradual strengthening of the cooperative and its membership is quite interesting as it comprised of only 41 members in the year 1997 while in 2004 it shot up to 79 members and finally at present the cooperative has more than 245 members. Though it took long time for getting the cooperative registered however the fight for right was on continuously and finally the fisherwomen won the battle.
Moving forward, Sakhi has successfully been able to formulate 13 block level co-operatives, 1 district level Federation which covers 9 blocks of the district by the name “Sahyogini Mahila Matsyajivi Sahyog Samiti” and 800 SHGs with 10,000 women a part of the movement so far.
Several livelihood activity started by the members after they got training & linkage from other departments/ financial support with the support of our organization like vegetable cultivation, Paddy cultivation using SRI method, Goat farming, Fish farming, Makahana farming, Processing of Makhana, Etc.
In each of the projects Sakhi tried to integrate the different topic of importance like training to the community members on the schemes of government like MNREGA, Indira Awas Yojna, different schemes of water and sanitation, Different schemes of Fisheries department, etc.
We use the platform for the dissemination of knowledge of health, hygiene and sanitation like use of safe drinking water, hand washing, HIV AIDS, Breast feeding, Menstrual hygiene, diarrhea management, antitrafficking etc.
The key Projects are:
Jeevika Intervention in Fishery (Bihar rural livelihood promotion society)
- Project duration: – 3 year
- Project brief:-
The basic feature of project is to unite & build the capacity of the POP (poorest of the poor) in groups and formation of their village organization and then into cooperative. The project also aims at improvement of fish farmers community by building their capacity in modern method of fish farming and supporting them in enhancement of their traditional livelihood activity of fish and makhana farming.
- Formation of 230 SHG covering total 2568 household account of 126 groups opened.
- Formation of 17 VO (village organization) & training of the members
- Training to the members on meeting norms, leadership, VO formation & exposure visit of the trained groups to other VO.
- Credit linkage of 70 groups with Bank.
- Micro planning of all SHG to assess the need of the community, availability of the water body in area, finance requirement in the groups & training requirement of the groups.
- Project title: – Formation and nurturing of community based saving group in katra block of Muzaffarpur district.
- Source of funding: Aga Khan Foundation
- Project duration: – 3 year
- Project brief:-
Community based Savings group are informal groups of people who come together usually for purpose of saving together and borrowing loans as their needs and also for sharing news, knowledge, ideas, traditions and helping each other out in times of need. The members of CBSG are often people who have close social relations in one way or the other. In this case, the primary target members are Female followed by male.
This project started in 54 villages of 15 panchayats of Katra Block, Muzzffarpur, Bihar. Sakhi formed 384 groups of 5586 members in total out of which 5160 members are women and 447 members are men. In this process, members saved Rs. 45, 92, 547 and through inter loaning system they earned Rs. 3,62,627. In this program, Loan Fud utilisation rate went to 47.3% and members got 11.4% as annualised return on assets. At the end of the year all the groups shared out all savings and profit was distributed amongst the members. Out of the initial 269 groups , 244 group went on to the next cycle.
Sakhi also provided Financial Literacy tools to the group members and enhanced their financial knowledge which was observed as they developed savings habit, enhanced security level, decisions making power enhanced, participation habits developed and eventually minimised dependency on the money lenders.
- Project title: – Promotion of SHGs, Bank linkage, capacity building of SHG members & leaders—- NABARD
- Project duration: – 3 year
- Project brief:-
The project aims at formation of 500 groups in Madhubani and Darbhanga districts of Bihar. Apart from formation of SHG we have assign the work of formation of Producer Company, farmers club and formation of JLG.
- Formation of 500 groups covering more than 6000 households of the two districts.
- Formation of farmers club of the members.
- Formation of producer company.
- Bank account opening of the groups/farmers club/producer company.
- Capacity building of the members on group management, documentation.
- Capacity building of group leader on leadership.
- Credit linkage of the groups.
- Access of poor community to the existing government schemes
- Addressing credit need of the community
- Provides alternate sources for credit need of community
- Linkage building between institutional financial service providers and SHGs
- Capacity building of farmers.
- Empowerment of women to form sustainable village organizations for development.
- Linkage with other service providers
Strategy to be adopted:
- Identification of target beneficiaries: In this the first step through the survey potential target beneficiaries will be identified in the katra block of Muzaffarpur district.
- Community mobilization and Formation of groups – The formation of the self help groups, second step is formation of village organization at village of all SHGs of same village ,
There is several small activity that needs to be performed for the development of the members of the SHG to achieve the objective like developing the habit of meeting, saving. Opening of bank account, Capacity building of the members on leadership, development of bye laws of groups, book keeping, etc.
- Capacity building of SHG leaders and members: Regular meeting, training, exposure visit on different aspect like importance of By laws. Regular saving and regular inter lending
- Bank linkage (Saving/credit): rapport building with the bankers, bank workshop, proper documentation of the groups, selection of literate members from the groups as leaders, proper inter lending within groups
- Communities access to social welfare services:- Enable to community to understand the different social welfare services, to make them understand the process of accessing it and support them in getting it.
- Review and reporting:review of the work done and reporting to the agency on regular quarter basis.
- Methodology for carrying out the activity
Process of carrying out the activitiesProcess of carrying out the activities
Loan to SHG members — Rastriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi, Bihar
Several livelihood program is in operation but the main problem for the people living in the community is of finance, to get credit from formal sources of financial institution is very difficult so credit facility to the SHGs is provided by RGVN, Bihar.
- The loan facility is extended to the 100 groups of 17 Village of Andhratharii block. Proper documents and record is maintained by the organization.Women from marginalised communities have been organised into 115 SHGs with a cumulative membership of 1457. These shgs have been able to build up a cumulative savings fund of Rs 2, 45,000.
- 362 shg members have already got access to loan to the tune of Rs 4,43,000 from Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi.
- Linkage with the formal sources of financial institutons
Area Coverage – 10 Panchayat of Andhrathari block
Number of beneficiaries – 1500 households.
Project title: -Swayamsidha Project (WDC)
To provide livelihood opportunity by providing self-employment to the disadvantaged section of the society 100 female groups is formed in the 5 panchayats of the Andhrathari block.
They deposit money on the monthly basis in their group and the time of need they took loan, in this way the habit of saving and cooperation is inculcated in them, which is necessary for the sustainability of the project of livelihood enhancement.
The basic aim of the Swayamsidha project is to enable community self-dependent.
Area Coverage: – 22 villages of 5 Panchayats of Andhrathari Block.
Number of beneficiaries: -1484 households
-Formation of the Self Help Groups.
-Formation of the cluster
-Proper documentation of the group’s record of finance as well as meetings.
-Training to the members of the group.
-MED and IG activities
-Formation of the cooperative and federation.
Impact of all the programs together:
Long term – Change of financial state as it increased the resilience of household members to cope with income volatility and socio economic shocks through enhanced and stable access to basic financial services.
-Social capital increase
-Economic credit decrease
-Dependency on money lender decrease.
Medium Term Outcomes- Change in Behaviour or practice, highest level for program accountability measured at the end of program. Enhanced empowerment of SHG members at the community and household levels.
Short Term Outcomes- Change in skills, awareness, access or ability measured during program, often intangible. Can also be a immediate level behavioural change depending on the intervention- for example, in agriculture activities, behavioural change may happen pretty quickly i.e. for the next season.