|Extensive space for women self help groups promoted by SEVAI|
Society for Education, Village Action and Improvement (SEVAI) was founded in 1975 in Trichirappalli, India as a development women's organization facilitating self-education activities and networks of women initially in relation to issues of livelihoods, credit, and access to and management of resources in rural Tamilnadu communities. In 1984, SEVAI began direct and intensive work with women's groups and communities in the comprehensive districts of Trichy. SEVAI devised strategies to center stage the involvement of grassroots women's groups in a broad range of housing, planning, and infrastructure programs arising an Extensive space for women self help groups towards growth and Development from this project since then. These efforts gradually scaled up and evolved into a broad based community development strategy where grassroots women's groups now function as leading actors in the context of development and Education activities in Trichy district. Today, SEVAI partners with women's groups and local government across Trichirappalli District and facilitates capacity building activities involving 120,000 women active in more than 7000 savings and credit groups in their rural poor communities. With a long term vision of supporting a movement where women's groups in poor rural areas are able to socially transform their communities, SEVAI helps women become a critical mass through inter-village and larger federated associations that control information, assets and represent their Federations.
Employing field resource teams that partner with women's groups and local government, SEVAI's facilitating role focuses upon five capacity building strategies: Savings and Credit Groups as an Organizational Foundation for Empowering and Networking Grassroots Women, Self Education as a Tool for Networking and Advocacy, Movement for Effective Functioning, Supporting Women's Initiatives to Access, Provide and Monitor Basic Services and Rebuilding Women Communities. As facilitating Organisation, SEVAI identifies opportunities for organized, grassroots women's self help groups to build and strengthen their organizational capabilities through self-education, participation in local planning and governance activities, demonstrate and scale up their initiatives, and forge resource linkages with institutional actors such as banks, government agencies etc. As self-learning within women's groups grows, SEVAI facilitates the transfer of innovations/best practices across women's groups. Later as women's knowledge, people-base, and resources expand, SEVAI facilitates information transfers and capacity building. The women's groups who partner with SEVAI organize themselves in savings and credit collectives as a base for their other activities. By mobilizing savings and disbursing loans to meet production and consumption needs, women build an economic base, learn about money management, develop skills to manage larger and larger funds, and explore community enterprise options. For poor women who lack assets such as land, houses or other property, the self-help ability to pool savings and to grant and access credit is extremely empowering. The group processes-regular meetings, regular savings and loans-establish trust and confidence building among women. Over time, the collective decision making abilities of the women's groups also grows and women begin to identify social issues that they want to act on collectively. -Govin