HOLM UIBRIG, KANCHAN DEVI
Universtiy of Dresden, Institute of International Forestry and Forest Products, Germany
Micro financing has been proved to be an effective measure to provide financial access to the poor people. In India, women Self Help Groups (SHGs) have served as vehicles for providing financial access to the rural women leading to their empowerment. But there is a huge unmet gap in demand and supply of micro finance to the rural women, which requires a number of Micro financing Institutions to be developed at local level. The success of Joint Forest Management, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, has created such local level institutions, known as Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs). The accrued funds in their accounts they receive mainly in-lieu of the protection of forest areas allotted to them. Within these villages, some women have organised themselves into small groups and they are saving small amounts that is rotated within their respective members for supporting their urgent family needs. However, these amounts do not satisfy the real needs.
Functioning and impacts of women SHGs in villages of the JFMCs have been studied testing the actual system. The study reveals the importance of the facilitator for the development of SGHs. Training is found to be crucial input for the facilitator as well as for the SHG members. The JFMCs and SHGs are performing lending activities, to their members, but they do so independently. The financial linkage between the two is missing. Therefore, a JFMC-SHG linkage model has been derived for providing financial access to the SHGs. However, an integrated approach of various actors is required to make this model operative.
Keywords: India, revolving funds, women self help groups