MICROFINANCE SELF-HELP GROUPS (SHG)
Self Help Groups (SHG) are one of FPI's first projects at entry in any country as it starts its operations, FPI describes SHGs as need-based, community-driven and developmental micro-units that help improve the status and quality of life of the poor. The intervention in the initiation and formulation of SHGs and their programs is generic. The formation of the groups is usually gender-specific, which is exclusive to men, women or sometimes for both together. Recent developmental programs emerged in associating the farmers with the government, SHG’s and other voluntary organizations for the benefit of the farming communities. Technological dissemination through SHG’s favours farming and non-farming communities on a large scale, the groups are inclusive of the poor and are charged with the purpose of becoming a market outlet for smallholder farmers, this Improves farmers’ income-earning capability and agricultural productivity in a country.
How to Start a Microfinance based Self Help Group.
SHGs start as small groups of rural poor, who have identified a cause and voluntarily come forward to form groups for improvement of the social and economic status of their members.
It can be formal (registered) or informal.
The concept underlines the principles of Thrift, Credit and Self Help.
Members of SHG agree to save regularly and contribute to a common fund.
Members agree to use this common fund and other funds (like grants and loans from banks) that they may receive as a group, to venture into self-help projects or give small loans to needy members as per the decision of the group.
FPI encourages its SHG members who join from across the world to make voluntary savings at regular intervals so that resources that are pooled can be used to make small interest-bearing loans to members on a rotational or needs basis. In India, an innovative approach to the SHG group movement was made by NABARD by the introduction of a pilot project in 1991.
NABARD defines it as a group of 20 or fewer people from a homogenous class who are willing to come together to address their common problems.
FPI MICROFINANCE SELF HELP GROUPS
Farmers Pride International encourages its members to form themselves into Microfinance self-help groups upon joining the organisation, these groups stand as credit schemes to help members to raise money for income-generating schemes some of which will end up being commercial farming groups, FPI further encourages them to work with it in its Agriculture investment projects, investing what they have raised into these projects will help them to learn to start and manage an income generation projects. For 6 months members of the newly founded branch will organise themselves and start small contributions from their monthly earnings and grow capital that will be borrowed by members specifically for starting projects with FPI guidance.
Role of SHG in building sustainable incomes through Agriculture
Self-help groups engaged in development activities have the potential to empower their members through the provision of knowledge, skills, motivation, and competencies that underpin sustainable agriculture
Self Help Farmer groups can be an important institution for the transformation of smallholder farming, increase productivity and incomes thereby reducing poverty. Agricultural policies across Africa should focus more on the stepping up of agriculture and farmers’ Self Help Groups and increase the market orientation of the smallholder farmers. Besides contributing toward economic development, these groups are important for social networking, group involvement helps to establish appropriate marketing relationships and to minimize input costs.
FPI's Categories of Self-Help Groups
Based on the FPI theory of change and activities, its SHG’s are broadly categorized into the following groups that cater to their requirements -
Groups formed exclusively for thrift and credit management for self-reliance.
Groups to improve the status and quality of life of poor rural women and children.
Groups to enhance the impact of development programmes.
Groups that aim to involve the community in planning and implementation of programs for sustained need-based development activities after withdrawal of external assistance.
The Savings Group is an entry point for members to get together and stimulate empowerment.
Groups for promoting farmers’ (men and/or women's) interests and to act as a collective unit to interact with extension agencies and build up their capacities in agriculture. Read more on how to start an SHG>>>>