An Empirical Study of Self-helps Groups and Awareness of Group Members

Murlidhar Ananada Lokhande

Abstract


Self-help groups, as it evident from research studies, are instrumental in creating awareness and socio-economic development of group members and their families. The groups are formed and run on democratic principles. Generally, homogeneous groups of the same socio-economic background are preferred to avoid conflicting interests. However, no discrimination is allowed on the basis of gender, caste, creed or religion for membership. SHGs are formed and nourished by Self-help Group Promotional Institutions (SHPIs), financed by Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) for undertaking micro-entrepreneurial activities. The basic principle of self-help group is transparency at all levels of activities which promotes trust and mutual understanding among the members of the group. A sample of 219 group members of 73 self-help groups,  promoted by three NGOs working in Beed, Jalana and Osmanabad districts  from Marathwada Region of Maharashtra state, was selected on Convenience sampling basis. Out of 219 group members, 146 (67%) were male members whereas 73 (33%) were female members. The study attempted to investigate into the questions as to which factors influenced the members for joining the SHGs? Was there any association between male/female group members and their awareness about financial, administrative, social, political and entrepreneurial activities? The study observed that the group members were influenced by the group activities such as, savings, micro finance without collateral, micro entrepreneurial activities and self-respect and self-confidence they had got being group members. The major conclusion of the study is that there was significant association between gender of the group members and awareness about financial, political activities. However, the gender of the group members and their awareness about administrative, social and entrepreneurial activities were found independent of each other.

Key words: Savings,  NGOs,  MFIs,  Entrepreneurial activities, Sustainable development

JEL Classification: E21,L31, G21, L26, Q 01


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