Case Study

Microcredit and Women's Empowerment: The Lokadrusti Case

How has microfinance impacted women's empowerment?
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This case is a part of the UNDP commissioned study for looking into linkages between micro credit and women's empowerment. The author studies three organizations viz. Muthi Chawal, Mahila Samiti and SHG promoted by Lokadrushti an NGO in Orissa.

The author observed that the NGO interventions have had the following results:

  • Women's mobility, self-confidence and access to financial services, have significantly increased and they are accepted as leaders by the bureaucracy;
  • Women still need to acquire competence in organizational management, long-term vision building and planning;
  • Women are taking up social issues and making their presence felt;
  • Despite of a large number of women regularly visiting banks, they have not yet taken external borrowings seriously;
  • SHGs can prove to be a significant player in the local financial market;
  • Women already have an impact on the local commodities market, through rice trading, and with more value addition they can take up a leading role;
  • The Mahila Samiti, the Muthi Chawal, and the SHG need to invest more in design and development to increase their circle of influence.

The author makes the following recommendations:

  • Women need to define the three organizations (The Muthi Chawal, Mahila Samiti, SHG) more clearly as a more professional approach is needed to serve the members over a length of time;
  • The organizations should be converted into legal entities as ownership of common property becomes difficult for unregistered ones;
  • The Mahila Samiti should strengthen its advocacy agenda by building a vision for women's development;
  • Lokdrishti should develop strong self managed institutions as monitoring of large number of SHGs would be difficult for Lokadrishti;
  • Lokadrusti needs to develop sound accounting, management and monitoring systems for these organizations;
  • Feasibility studies should be taken up to explore agro processing and marketing by women.

About this Publication

By Rajagopalan, S.