RGMVP’s strength lies in the ownership and management of its institutions by the women themselves. The Three-Tier Institutional Model is the foundation upon which all field programmes and strategies can be carried out and connect women to the world.
A Self-Help Group (SHG) consists of 10-20 women living in a neighbourhood who voluntarily choose to form a group. SHGs are federated into Village Organisations (VOs), representing 150 to 250 women, and then further federated into Block Organisations (BOs), representing 5,000 to 7,000 women. This network of community-based institutions forms a platform for collective actions, mutual help and learning, accessing services, entitlements, skills and knowledge.
Adapting the RGMVP model, women are identified and then trained as Community Resource Activists to play a lead in running programs based on the provision of healthcare, education, sustainable agriculture and livelihoods.
Our SHG savings and bank linkage program is designed to help family’s escape from the clutches of exploitative moneylenders, encourage exploration of income-generating activities and enable the poor to pay for necessities and improve livelihoods. Samooh Sakhis (SHG Activists) initiate group formation and help explain group processes, which prioritize choice and grants ownership for women to steer their own destinies.
Swasthya Sakhis (Health Activists) are trained to facilitate safe deliveries, ensure immunizations, spread awareness about the best practices in mother and child care; and empower communities to access and demand better health services and nutrition. Impacts of the program have extended beyond achieving health indicators to include active participation in demanding toilets and adopting other sanitation practices.
Most of the money accessed through internal lending is used for income-generating activities and livelihood enhancement, including dairy and agriculture. Ajeevika Sakhis (Livelihood Activists) engage with SHGs as well as Kissan (male farmer’s) groups to spread awareness about the best practices around soil testing, 18-day composting, kitchen gardening, systems of wheat and rice intensification and vaccination of cattle.
Our community leaders ensure outreach and sustained growth by spreading new information and creating support networks from within the community.
Samooh Sakhis facilitate the first step in the change process by going door-to-door in the villages explaining the benefits of RGMVP, organising women into SHGs, linking bank accounts, training members on responsible and regular savings and encouraging diverse and innovative ways to improve incomes and livelihoods.
Swasthya Sakhis are identified and trained on the best practices in mother & child care, safe deliveries and nutrition & adolescent health. 'Meeting Sakhis' help to facilitate discussions and educate members about helpful resources and facilities. To date, 80,000 SHGs have been trained on Reproductive, Maternal & Neonatal Health.
Ajeevika Sakhis are selected within the community to spread awareness of the best practices on sustainable agriculture, including training on dairy management and buffalo & goat rearing, organic composting, preparation of kitchen gardens for increased incomes and food security and the establishment of seed banks.
A number of inspiring initiatives and positive impacts have resulted from our change process and continues to provide women with the space and opportunity to raise their voice, innovate and grow.
Training about the Panchayati Raj (local governments) and its election processes has led to active political participation of women, who had no prior experience, to contest recent elections in Uttar Pradesh. Over 350 women won and went on to take leadership roles within their communities, prioritizing women’s needs and emerging as decision-makers in a context where women aren’t allowed to leave their homes without a veil.
By leveraging the existing Self-Help Group network, Young Women Self-Help Groups (ages 13+) are encouraged to adopt the same “self-help” values and strategies for improving girl’s health awareness and practices, leadership qualities, life skills and financial literacy. Young women’s groups seek to create a generation shift and disrupt the cycle of oppression and misconceptions in order to promote safer, healthier and freer lifestyles.
At the age of 20, Mamta lost her first child post delivery due to lack of information. When she joined a SHG in 2013, a Swasthya Sakhi helped her to become aware of the facilities available to carry out a safe delivery and protecting her baby's health as well as her own. She learned about Kangaroo Mother Care and exclusive breastfeeding, which she exclaims has helped her protect and care for her two healthy daughters, now 2 and 4 years old.READ MORE STORIES