The program has four active projects, including: NCDP (Nazareth Community Development Project), Gilgal (community empowerment proejct), CCMD (Church and Community Mobilization Project), and SPCC/CEA (Civic Engagement Alliance). The current numbers of SHGs are 7,612 with active members of 362,162 people: each group has around 48 members. The purpose of the program is to help the poorest of poor people by organizing them into groups. As the group members, they are able to discuss issues affecting their lives and the lives of their families. One of the pre-dominant issues is the need for an economic improvement. To overcome the problem, they apply three strategies: raising funds through personal and group savings, facilitating loan access for those interested to start their own businesses, and acquiring business skills through trainings provided by the different projects mentioned above. To date, their current asset values are estimated at ETB 63 millions.
The SHG promotion approach has been active approach by the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Development Commission (EKHCDC) for many years, now. As a result, the approach is being used in the both contexts (urban and rural) with aim to reduce poverty. The program provides the members of SHGs with training so that they, the members, undertake businesses suitable to their experience, social and physical environments, resources in disposal, etc. As they choose to work collectively to tackle the problems confronting their own life and their families, many other interested people around and in their communities get attracted to their initiatives. Therefore, the program sensitizes and mobilizes resources on their behalf by linking them with the local resources; for example, skilled volunteers show interest to help them create, manage and control their businesses. As a result, they are being linked with different government institutions that train them on different skills with objective to promote their social and economic roles within their communities. They work with the local Kale Heywet church structure, as well.
Program implementation strategies
EKHCDC through its rich experience has employed a number of development approaches as a strategy to tackle poverty in the urban and the rural settings. One of such approaches is the Self- Help Group approach–an approach that underlines the power to challenge and reduce poverty within the communities themselves through employing their resources and their effort to bring about self-sufficiency. The approach builds up peoples’ existing capabilities and strengths. To realize these, the program uses the following approaches:
- mobilizing the local Kale Heywet churches and government institutions to support the program at different stages: SHGs, CLAS and FLAs.
- Mobilizing, organizing and strengthening communities under low economic status
- Improving gender relationships at individual, family, community and institutional levels with special emphasis on women economic empowerment
- Establishing an effective management system at all program levels which supports ongoing project activities
- Improving facilitating capacity for SHGs and other community based organizations engaged addressing needs their communities
- Increasing and empowering the role of Cluster Level Associations (CLAs) and Federal level associations (FLAs) to take over the role of nurturing, developing and replicating SHGs.
- Strengthening the existing monitoring, evaluating, and learning system.
- Developing and facilitating linkages and networks with MFIs, banks, and government and non-government organizations to mobilize resources.
- Developing management and support system at Zonal and local churches level to sustain the support of volunteers.
3. Major Activities
The major activities that these projects will implement include:
- establishing SHGs, CLAs and FLAs
- Capacity assessment of the CLAs and SHGs,
- Capacity building training for CLA leaders on CLA management, SHGs capacity building.
- Establishing and strengthening new CLAs at project areas where CLAs have not been established,
- Conducting consultation workshop with local government line offices,
- Supporting government line offices in drafting action plans to support and follow up SHGs and CLAs on the future
- Refresher training for SHG book writers on financial management and bookkeeping
- Mapping and linkage of SHGs with local churches
- Re -envisioning of local churches
- Linkage of SHGs with the financial service providers including MFIs and district banks,
- Consultation workshop with financial service providers,
- Organizing experience sharing visit for SHGs and CLA leaders onto the most successful areas,
- Supporting the registration of SHG approach by government,
- Networking CLAs with zonal and district government
- Dialogue, lobby and advocacy on selected topics by CLAs
SHG promotion program includes some training package for community-based institutions
- PRA (wealth ranking, transect walk, social mapping , etc) training
- Vision and goal setting
- SHG concept
- Facilitation and communication skills
- Financial Record keeping
- Basic business skill, entrepreneurship and income generating schemes
- Saving and loan management
- Conflict management and problem solving
- Record keeping and SHG financial management
- Concept of linkages, networking and local resource mobilization
- Home management
- Concept of self-monitoring and evaluation
- Concept of rotational leadership
- Gender and Culture
- Concept of Lobby and Advocacy
- different community based trainings …etc.
Benefits of being in SHGs
- Saving and Financial Decision Making
One of the primary benefits of participation in a SHG is the opportunity to save regularly, access formal savings institutions and participate in the management of these savings. Therefore, the SHG members are able to save, open bank own bank accounts to deposit their savings regularly
- Access to credit
The members have access to credit, increasing to the financial mobility, especially within the rural setting. Another experience is borrowing and paying back.
- Employment opportunity
The implementation of SHG has generated Self-employment opportunities for the rural and urban poor.
- Decision-making within the household
The social impact of the SHG program increased involvement in Decision-making, as the women have become financial contributors to the well being of their families. As a result, expenditure/investment by SHG member women recognized in health, child education, marriage events/ceremonies, etc..