|Fostering Community - Based Organisations|
Building, nurturing, and strengthening community-based organisations is an important component of PRADAN’s strategy for creating a system for sustainability in the developmental processes being undertaken in an area. PRADAN field officers work in the community as facilitators who build relevant capabilities, processes, and systems, so that people are able to carry forward the development agenda that they themselves have set. Community-based organisations such as Self-Help Groups (SHG), SHG Federations, watershed committees, producers’ institutions, organised as cooperatives, producer companies, mutual benefit trusts, are some of the organisational forms that have been fostered. Over 7512 Self-Help Groups, 4 SHG Federations, and 65 producer institutions have already been promoted. These include:
The community development process starts with bringing the women together into Self-Help Groups. These SHGs go through different stages of evolution: mutual help, financial intermediation, livelihood planning, and social empowerment. SHGs in adjoining villages are organised into clusters and federations for solidarity, mutual support, and for the members to benefit from scale economies brought in by shared services.
Forming and nurturing producers’ organisations happen as part of the further evolution of the community building process. Specific institutions around different livelihood activities are promoted in order to deliver specific services. The geographical coverage of the organisation, the organisational structure, the financing strategies, and other institutional processes depend on the nature of the activity. These organisations play a very important role of an aggregator, providing scale of economy for linking rural poor to markets for both input sourcing as well as output marketing. They also house important production support services. And, last but not the least, these organisations serve as a cushion that protects the poor producer from the vagaries of volatile markets.