Financial Inclusion for Poor and Tribal Women in Jharkhand

Since 2002, the Independent Commission for People’s Rights and Development (ICPRD) has been working to strengthen the livelihoods of indigenous tribal and poor women in SanthalPargana in the state of Jharkhand. Partnering with 15 local NGOs, ICPRD’s intervention activities helped life enhancement of nearly 12,000 tribal and poor women in four districts (Godda, Deoghar, Jamtara and Dumka) in state of Jharkhand.

ICPRD, in phase I (2004-2006) built women’s groups capacities through such interventions as imparting technical skills, managerial skills capacity building, income generating activity development and collective savings. The phase II (2007-2009) initiated a revolving credit fund for agriculture and allied enterprises for indigenous women to deepen integration into financial systems. It also provided a platform through mahila enterprise fairs (or MahilaHaats) for women to sell their products. Revolving credit and financial literacy training continued in phase III (2009-2010).

Three phase impact assessment studies revealed that ICPRD’s training and capacity building has strengthened local NGOs and SHGs in financial inclusion management, inter-lending, savings and bank linkages. The financial literacy training enabled the Women’s group members to better manage their investment and savings. The revolving credit has assisted in improving housing and infrastructure, education for children, increased savings for emergencies and better farming. The effective interventions stopped poor women from migrating to other towns in search of livelihood opportunities, and also stopped their reliance for loans from the moneylenders many times being trafficked. Women became self-reliant by undertaking income generating activities in agriculture, animal husbandry, vegetable cultivation, bamboo work, piggery and sheep rearing, bakery, vermicomposting and fish farming. Nearly 12,000 women benefitted from this initiative.

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