Self Help Groups Catalyze Women's Economic and Social Empowerment

This week, we’re sharing video content that helps to explain the impact of Self Help Groups—the groups that we support by building a customized, open source digital platform. This week’s first video focused on how SHGs build resilience and the second looked at the social transformations that SHGs make possible.

Today we’re sharing two new videos, both exploring how women benefit, in particular, from membership in Self Help Groups.

One of the major gains available to SHG members is financial independence from their husbands. Instead of relying upon unpredictable sources of revenue from their partners, SHG members work together until they can meet their needs, take loans and invest in their businesses.

As SHG Facilitator, Stella Millanga says, “Women don’t want to depend on their husbands. They want to lift themselves from the challenges of poverty.”

Elie Calhoun, Principal at Code Innovation elaborates, “People already know that women are likely to spend their money to help secure the well-being of their children and their families. Self Help Groups can amplify the impact of this good decision making, by helping women to profit and become independent financial actors.”

The business and financial literacy of our curriculum draws on more than a decade of field-tested materials from India and Ethiopia, where Self Help Group programming has a rich history.

We are proud to aggregate the highest quality content and then move it into the Creative Commons where it has the greatest likelihood of benefiting people around the world.

It’s no surprise that social empowerment goes hand-in-hand with financial independence. Where SHGs take root, gender roles and social roles can become more fluid. The power dynamic in a household can flip.

Young women may start to see role models emerge from an older generation, as women support one another through their learning and entrepreneurship.

There are truly inspiring stories emerging from the community of SHG members: members who started off by saving handfuls of grain can be running their own network of dump trucks back and forth across national borders moving commodities by the ton.

There are limitless ways to rise out of poverty and SHGs help vulnerable populations to hone in on the most strategic pathways while minimizing the downside risk.

Stay tuned for our next post that explores the impact of mobile technology on SHGs in particular.