Empowering Rural Women through Women Thrift Groups (WTGs)

By- Reliance Foundation

September 4, 2019

Empowering Rural Women through Women Thrift Groups (WTGs)

Reliance Foundation

Urban Indian women have been breaking boundaries and bringing International repute to India. But women in rural regions are still struggling to find their feet as equals in the society. Reliance Foundation is taking a small step through its initiatives in rural India to empower these women by making them self-reliant. Empowered women are ushering in the change.

The Reliance Foundation visited the villages and encouraged the community members to come together for village development. Various meetings were organized in the village, where the women learnt about ways in which they could improve their lives. The concept of Women Thrift Groups (WTGs) was introduced to women and explained how they can start by saving Rs.100 every month. This saving could help them during personal emergencies like medical situations, children’s school fees etc.

Gradually, they agreed to the idea and decided to start a thrift group. 30 women came together to form a group and started organising meetings. The women were educated on how these savings could help them in difficult times. A meeting is held among the women every month and each of them contribute Rs. 100 in the group. Thirty of them save Rs. 3000 every month. The loans are given out to the members at 2% interest rate. Due procedure of filling up vouchers and receipts and also maintain a ledger. Any member arriving late to the meeting is charged Rs. 10 as fine.

Over the years, many women have benefitted from the group. Many of them took out loans to buy a stitching machine and started sewing, their household income increased and now they have started earning Rs. 200 to Rs. 300. 13 WTGs have combined to form a group with collective savings of Rs. 8 Lacs to 10 Lacs.

Earlier, the women had not seen a bank or a post office. Now, they are well-informed about such matters and easily carry out transactions at the bank. The success of these women from nearby villages to follow suit and formed WTG in their own villages. Many of the women started small scale businesses such as poultry farming with the money they saved.

RF    also    promotes    Women’s    Thrift    Groups   (WTGs),   aimed   at   improving   the   participation   of   women   in   rural   transformation.  This  model  encourages  women   to   drive   the   process   of   socio-economic    change    by    making    them    financially  self-reliant  and  ensuring that  they  play  an  active  role  in  decision-making. To   promote   self-reliance   and   success   of  the  WTGs,  RF  focuses  on  capacity  building of women, with a special focus on leadership  development,  documentation  and processes.

The primary outcome is the emergence    of    empowered    and    self-reliant   community-based   organisations   with    robust    membership    bases    and    strong leadership. The uniqueness of the design  lies  in  the  co-creation  and  co-designing    of    solutions    contextualised    as  per  social,  economic  and  ecological  situations   that   are   self-sustaining.   Till   date, more than 52,000 rural families have   joined   hands   to   form   529   VAs,   to    drive    the    village    transformation    initiative. Regarding the progress of WTGs, till date, more than 3,000 women have formed 106 thrift groups across 14 districts in seven states, having saved over Rs. 2.2 Mn.

Reliance Foundation strives not only to provide assistance but also confidence, and self-reliance, to turn today’s rural women into leaders of tomorrow.


Reliance Foundation

Reliance Foundation is an Indian philanthropic initiative which was founded in 2000 by Dhirubhai Ambani. It is affiliated with Reliance Industries Limited and is one of the largest private foundations in the country. Reliance Foundation is the Top CSR spender for the third year in a row in the country.




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