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CASE STUDY 2

          Enabling a community-driven


          organisation to empower women



          For inclusive growth of a society, empowerment of women   grant for building capacity of its grassroots leaders
          is imperative. The Self-Employed Women’s Association   andˆstaff.
          (SEWA) is a grassroots movement founded in 1972 by
          ElaˆBhatt, and has been working since to empower women   As part of this project, multiple trainings were imparted
          from the country’s most marginalised populations,   matching the member’s designation within the
          engaged in the informal economy. Today, it has more than   cooperative. The Board members were trained in concepts
          2 million active members across 15 states, making it one of   of finance, leadership skills, legal and compliance as well
          India’s largest and oldest non-profit organisations.   as mobilisation and information sharing. The six members
                                                              of the core team were provided leadership training, taught
          SEWA set up a national federation of its organisations to   data management and given an understanding of the
          expand the movement as well as to promote a national   cooperative’s laws and bye-laws.
          identity, called SEWA Bharat. The latter formed a State
          Level Thrift and Credit Cooperative Society named ‘Bihar   The area office/branch in-charges were trained in cash
          Mahila Sewa Bachat Evam Sakh Swavalambi Sahkari Samiti’   book maintenance, loan processing and implementation,
          in 2012 to inspire, promote and support financial inclusion   while the supervisors were trained to closely monitor
          of all women of Bihar employed in the informal sector.   vitta saathis (financial intermediaries) to ensure
          Bihar is one of the least developed states of India, with a   accurate reporting. Vitta saathis perform the important
          significant gender disparity in access to financial services.   task of hand-holding members on the field to help
                                                              them understand their account balances and interest
          Recognising the significance of its contribution, the Tata   calculations. They were trained to prepare member-wise
          Trusts are supporting SEWA Bharat through a one-year   loan portfolios and defaulter reports.

          Scaling up with training and technology











          The intervention has      After several intensive   The defaulter percentage   There has been ~60%
          facilitated the vitta saathis   sessions on loans and   for the cooperative has   reduction in errors in
          of SEWA Bharat to provide   recovery in early 2019,   reduced from over 10%   recording daily collections
          services to more women    Bhagalpur branch has      last year to about 4% as of   since supervisors started
          from the vulnerable and   managed to recover        Juneˆ2019.                checking 100% of the daily
          poor sections of the society.   66% of its defaulted loans                    scrolls before they are
                                    in a span of five months.                           submitted for data entry.





                           “Earlier, I used to be terrified of the system (digital). But since I got trained in using Google Sheets,
                           I find reporting to be a hassle-free process. I have now understood the reason why one should make
                           a loan register. Now, I have a record of how much a member has repaid and how much is remaining.
                           Previously, we only used to note it down in the passbook, which the member used to keep. We could
                           access the correct figures only when we were out collecting dues.”
                                                                                                     - Beenaben,
                                     in-charge of SEWA Bharat’s Bariarpur branch in Munger district, which has 1,800 members.
                               She is a community leader and has helped form more than 45 SHGs. After undergoing the capacity-
                                           building training, she has managed to turn around her branch, making it profitable.





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