Lessons in Financial Inclusion : The 'Ubiquitous Anganwadi Worker' - A Potential Mentor in Villages !!
B. S. Suran III
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)
Microfinance World, A Complimentary with The Financial Express, pp. 20-22, Jan-March 2010
The SHG-Bank Linkage programme of India, provides tremendous scope to the financial inclusion initiatives of the Government by providing access to savings and credit facilities to the low income poor. The programme which kicked off about 18 years back , with Non Governmental organizations (NGOs) as the key architect of the social mobilization process of the poor households.
The real challenge for expansion of the SHG programme was finding a suitable social intermediary institution like NGO or individuals who have the capacity and competence to promote and nurture the (informal) group members to a mature SHG especially in remote areas. The present experiences indicate the omnipresent, mundane village-level worker of the provincial government: “Anganwadi Worker” could be one of the best bet for promoting SHGs if adequately trained, assisted and motivated. The anganwadi worker forms the backbone of the base level (village) delivery unit of the Government programmes intended to foster development of women and children. States which have effectively leveraged this have enabled quantitative and qualitative expansion of the SHG programme. Anganwadi Workers who normally reside in the village are a member of the village community and therefore appreciates the concerns, needs and aspirations of the villagers better, unlike a NGO worker who is a visitor to the village. Field experiences suggest that anganwadi workers could be entrusted with task of nurturing, monitoring and providing support services for 2-3 SHGs in a village. The general SHG drop out rates in this case was lower (10%) than that of groups promoted by NGOs in the state. These findings negate the general apprehension that the groups promoted by Government would tend to disintegrate once financial assistance is provided to SHGs.
These experiences from different provinces do show that if the state government engages in this important operation of building capacities of the mundane anganwadi worker, followed by appropriate motivation and incentivisation of these individuals, it could help, form and nurture women SHGs of disenfranchised segments in every village in this country.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 5
Keywords: SHG, Aganwadi, Village Worker, NGOs, Financial Inclusion, Drop out Rates
Date posted: March 13, 2010