Women Empowerment Programme ( Mahalir Thittam)  
 
The past experience of Kalvi Kendra in identifying itself with the women groups as a facilitating body drew the attention of the government which has lead to select Kalvi Kendra for implementing this programme.

The objective of the Women Empowerment Programme was proclaimed as “the liberation of women from the clutches of poverty and economic dependency so as to lead them to social empowerment”.  

As a facilitating agency for social development, Kalvi Kendra adopted the “Self Help Group approach” for organising the deprived sections. This approach was considered to be one of the best strategies.

Self Help Group
A Self Help Group (SHG) is forum for economically homogeneous(Poor) group of 12 to 20 women living in the same habitations.  The necessity of the SHG is to have mutual support among the members and a platform for sharing their resources and feelings.

It becomes a trustworthy group in the society by way of its disciplined planning and actions. It becomes an exemplary group because of its involvement in community and social actions. It solves its problem on its own by collective bargaining and action. It builds its character of credit-worthiness by way of keeping track record of their regular savings, credit and repayment which enables them to mobilise credit from the Banks. It is a best mechanism for credit delivery System.


Structure of SHG
One of the literates or semi literates, enthusiastic member within the SHG is selected as Animator who convene the weekly meetings, keeping records and accounts, disseminating information which she receives through training programme to the members of the group and reporting to the stackholders. Two other members are elected as Representatives for the SHG. They are to assist the Animator, and jointly operate the bank account, which is opened on the name of SHG in a Nationalised Bank. SHGs are conducting weekly meetings and taking decisions on group activities and social development activities.

Economic Empowerment
Kalvi Kendra considers that economic liberation is equally vital to all other liberation specially for the execluded and margenalised. women are subjected to various forms of violence and torture by their husbands, in-laws and the community as well because of their economic dependence on others. Once they are indebted to the money-lenders beyond the proportion of their family income, they are bound to loose their reputation and dignity. Even if the husband/men land the family into debt, the women are expected to bear the burden and redeem the family from debts. Therefore, the women had to be empowered on the economic front.

The economic empowerment is achieved in the following process:

  • Savings , Credit & Internal Lending
    Saving amount is rotated as an internal lending. This is to help them to meet out the unforeseen family expenditure and prevent them from the clutches of money-lenders.
  • Revolving fund
    On completion of six months, credit-rating is done for SHGs. The eligible groups are identified and given a revolving fund which is equally shared between each member of the SHG.
  • Entrepreneur development training
    Down the years, the women were only manual labourers without any technical skill. This has kept them to live in acute poverty. They remained unaware of the various avenues that could change their life style. Under these circumstances, the women were
    • Trained to identify an economic activity
    • Trained on a technical skill of their choice
    • Trained to manage a Entrepreneur Development Programme unit
    • Trained to market the finished product
  • Training in technical skills
    On the basis of the economic activity identified by the members of the SHGs, the vocational skill training related to the activity is organised.
  • Capital Mobilisation
    Credit facility is availed from the banks with subsidy of government sponsored schemes.
  • Setting up of Income Generation Programme (IGP) unit
    With the help of appropriate experts, IGP units are established.
  • Marketing of products
    Various strategies are adopted for marketing the products such as tie-up arrangements with the other marketing systems, participation in trade exhibitions, retail outlets and so on.
  • ncome management
    The last and very important step is to have knowledge of management and control of income.
    Impacts Created by SHGs
    • Attainment of self respect for women
    • Ensuring human rights and dignity
    • Instilling self-confidence
    • Empowerment to oppose injustices
    • Minimising the domestic violence
    • Shift from “worker” status to “work-manager” status
    • Increase in family income

 
 

Social empowerment
Kalvi Kendra strongly believes that through proper motivation, training and direction, women can be enabled to work as responsible and responsive members of the society they belong to.
Kalvi Kendra’s SHGs, women’s social empowerment has been witnessed in several areas in which they get involved, such as

  • Community development
  • Political participation
  • Upholders of women rights
  • Controlling social evils
  • Protecting environment
  • Access and control of local resources
 
 
SHGs  &  Women Federation
In order to sustain the development and power of the people through SHGs, appropriate strategy is required. After attaining maturity of the SHGs, it was felt that an apex body required to be constituted for ensuring self-administration of all the SHGs.
Therefore, today, SHGs are federated at the Panchayat Level as well as Cluster Level

Self Help Groups

Provide basic social services and organise economical activities.

Panchayat Level Federations

Monitoring the SHG's functioning at the panchayat level

Community Managed Cluster Resource Centre

Addressing social problems  and SHG's Inter & Intra problems

Facilitating Role of Kalvi Kendra
Kalvi Kendra facilitates SHGs in planning every process of the Women Development Programme from the time of inception with all the participating agencies such as Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women Ltd., Nationalised Banks and Rural Development Department.
At the beginning of the programme, the main component was forming and nurturing self help groups through discussions. Kalvi Kendra was working among them as an initiator, facilitator, guide and enabler. Today, in a sustainable process, the Women Federation has taken up these roles while Kalvi Kendra mainly intervenes as a facilitating body.