Plan India celebrated the first “Sakhi Sangam” in India in partnership with AV Baliga Trust to celebrate the economic empowerment of women ad girls. This was a result of a collaboration between Barclays Bank and Plan India, which looked at providing economic security to disadvantaged children. The project “Banking on Change” looked at mobilising around 10,000 women through SHGs.
Keeping with its commitment of promoting girls’ rights and lifting them out of poverty by imparting skill development & economic empowerment, Plan India in partnership with AV Baliga Trust celebrated its first convention of women’s federation “Sakhi Sangam”, an initiative for girls’ economic and social empowerment. This is a first of its kind federation of more than 10,000 women in an urban sector.
Plan India has been working on gender related issues and on programs for girls over the last five years. These include programmes on girls’ safety, prevention of female foeticide and education and market oriented vocational training of girls.
To ensure economic security and quality of life of disadvantaged children, Plan India is currently executing a project “Banking on Change” supported by Barclays Bank in the Mangolpuri and Sultanpuri area in the North West district of Delhi. The goal of the project is to improve the socio-economic condition with providing women’s access to financial services through financial linkages and micro-enterprise activities. Sakhi Sangam is part of Banking on Change project working towards economic security and quality of life for women and children.
Objectives of Banking on Change programme
- To mobilize 10,000 women, primarily from poor households, into 500 – 700 Self Help Groups through the social mobilization of subgroups.
- To orient 10,000 women on financial literacy.
- To build capacity of 3,000 women members for entrepreneurship through training and/or business linkages.
Although microfinance initiatives in India have done extremely well in the rural sector, urban microfinance initiatives are still in their infancy. Plan India believes that an effective microfinance project can also be a strong tool to address household poverty in the urban sector. The Banking on Change project is designed to draw lessons, experiences and learning’s for the inclusion of women from urban poor families into the formal financial sector through microfinance interventions. It also aims to enhance family income ensuring women’s economic empowerment through income generating activities.
Key achievements of the “Banking on Change” project
Community institution building: The project has mobilized 10200 women members from the community in Mangolpuri and Sultanpuri area in North West district of Delhi through more than 570 Self Help Groups. The Self help groups’ have further been federated into 15 clusters and are the base for the proposed Community based micro finance institution.
Financial services: Financial services are the primary services extended for the members. There has been a process of designing the products that would be offered at Federation level. The project team has distributed Financial Literacy tool kit to all Self help groups & facilitated training of 9500 members on various financial components with the help of eminent bankers like RBI ( Reserve Bank of India), State Bank of India, HDFC Bank. Besides the regular savings and inter-lending training, the projects have facilitated the members in credit linkage through Banks and Insurance Services.
Micro-Enterprises Services: Micro-Enterprise Development services have been designed for selected trade and services. So far 2500 members have been facilitated through various skill enhancement trainings, employment opportunities, business promotion linkages & setting up own enterprises and job orders etc.
SOURCE: Plan India