A Study of SHG Federation Structures in India: Core Elements for Achieving Sustainability

Using cooperative principles to help SHG institutions achieve sustainability
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This paper examines the evolution of the self-help group (SHG) movement in India. It presents findings from field studies of 12 SHG structures in six states.The paper identifies and compares core elements of sustainability to successful international cooperative institutions and the Indian SHG sector. It states that establishment of well organized federations is a precondition for achieving long-term sustainability of the SHG movement. Conclusions include:

  • Indian SHG institutions that have adhered to cooperative principles have achieved sustainability and success;
  • As per model cooperative and self-help institutional principles, primary members should be involved in the processes of institutional building;
  • Self Help Group Promoting Agencies (SHPAs) play a dominant role in the promotion, governance, management, and functions of Indian SHG structures;
  • Indian SHGs are predominantly being promoted as beneficiary organizations, because of constraints at the SHPA level;
  • Primary members seldom have a sense of ownership, and are reluctant to increase stakes in their institutions;
  • SHPAs need adequate resources, time and capacity building, especially on issues related to Sector Own Control (SOC), to increase and enable primary stakeholders involvement.

About this Publication

By Salomo, W., Rao, G.B. & Kumar, N.N.