Women’s Groups Formed in 10 villages in Lakhimpur, Assam
Between 4-6th March, People’s Action for Development (PAD) assisted in forming village-level women’s groups to target women's empowerment and address gender–related issues. This initiative is part of PAD’s climate change resilience and adaptation project in collaboration with the Terre des Hommes Germany-India programme.
PAD staff organised meetings with over 300 women across the project villages to form the groups. These meetings were used to introduce the overall project and explain the advantage of collective action in helping them to improve their economic condition and connect with government assistance programs. PAD provided guidance on how to maintain group register books and increase membership, so the groups can be linked with the Assam State Rural Livelihood Mission (ASRLM) and with local banks to receive benefits.
Self-help groups (SHGs) such as these women’s groups are not a new concept to people in these villages – they have over 60 similar groups in existence, but only 10-15 of these are fully functioning and active. In this way, PAD is able to leverage the existing knowledge and structures of local community members to increase their capacity and effectiveness.
There has been a significant drop in collective community-based action such as participation in self-help groups, mainly attributed to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Self-help groups are one of the key formations employed by India’s state and national governments to encourage rural development and address poverty. There are a number of schemes which self-help groups can currently access, including the National Rural Livelihood Mission, Village Poverty Reduction Plan, Gram Panchayat Development Plan, Swanirbhar Naari Atmo Niradhaar and Kanaklata schemes.
With the formation and revitalisation of these self-help groups, local communities will have access to critical support, increasing their capacity and resilience to the damaging impacts of climate change on their livelihoods.