A blog by the Micro Enterprise team
Helen Keller says that alone we can do so little, and together we can do so much. Henry Ford says coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
At Village Hope Core, we believe that teamwork and working together can produce wonderful results. Andrew Carnegie Says that teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision and the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. We believe the difference between success and failure is a great team and that is why we are always mentoring our groups to make them great.
The Micro Enterprise team works with groups of twelve individuals. The Micro Enterprise Team or the community members mobilize these groups either through word of mouth, brokered relationships initiated by partner schools or old Self Help Groups, and/or through the Public Health department. Some groups start as strangers while others already have something that has brought them together.
A SHG is a small economically homogeneous affinity group of the rural poor voluntarily coming forward to save a small amount of money regularly, which is deposited in a common fund to meet the members‟ emergency needs and to provide collateral free loans decided by the group. It now addresses the issues of poverty alleviation and empowerment of poor, health, nutrition and other support services especially women, in the rural areas of the country. It is a small voluntary association of people, mostly from the same socio-economic background.
The origin of Self Help Groups (SHGs) is the brainchild of Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, founded by Prof. Mohammed Yunus in 1975 that tried out a new approach to rural credit in Bangladesh. Grameen gave loans without asking borrowers either to provide collateral or engage in paper work.
Our groups then start a merry go round and a table-banking scheme together. A “merry-go-round” is a small social organization where members contribute a small sum of money on a regular basis, often every week. Each time money is collected; the full sum is paid out to one of the members. This savings scheme works by building group cohesiveness and support as well as contributing to individual livelihoods because a large sum of money is often more useful than smaller amounts.
We believe that it takes two flints to make a fire.”—Louisa May Alcott and we work very hard to make sure that they work together and grow economically and socially. Self-Help Groups play a crucial role in developing socio economic status of rural men and women by alleviating rural poverty and promotion of income generating activities in rural household. Village Hope Core uses the group setting along its other vehicles of poverty eradication to address issues of poverty alleviation and empowerment of poor, health, nutrition and other support service in the rural areas of the country.
Our group members participate in table banking scheme together. Table banking is a group funding strategy where members of a particular group meet after a specified period, place their savings, loan repayments and other contributions on the table then borrow immediately either as long term or short term loans to one or a number of interested members. The more the members and the more the higher contribution ensure that there is a greater funds base available for members. This means that they are able to borrow more and expand their various enterprises.
Our groups meet every month where apart from disbursal & repayment of loan, formal and informal discussions are held. Group members share their experiences in these groups. The minutes of these meetings are documented and the accounts are written. As Village HopeCore, we attend their meetings. This helps us understand them as individuals and groups in order to support them in every way we can. We monitor their table banking and train them on the same.
Every group has its set leadership structure that mostly comprises of the Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer. This means that the members get an opportunity to build their leadership capacity. In addition, Village HopeCore holds a one-day training for the leaders of our Self-Help Groups after they receive funding. This is training is meant to equip them with the necessary skills and information that makes a good leader. We have seen these leaders hold their groups together during the hardest of times. After all, mountains inspire leaders but valleys mature them.
Individual commitment to a group effort; that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”—Vince Lombardi.
When there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”—Mattie Stepanek. At Village Hope Core, we have witnessed wonderful things as a result of our groups working together. We have seen their businesses that start of as very small grow into huge enterprises and the poorest move to being an employer of many. We have seen them hold each other up on during the hardest of times and grow economically and socially and we are so honored to be part of their journey.