Membership with Swayamsampurna offers underprivileged rural women access to financial and social services in the following ways:
Swayamsampurna was founded to place equal priority on promoting women’s financial and social rights in 2008, and was registered as a Mutual Benefit Trust in 2010. Owned and managed by underprivileged rural women living across 55 villages in the district of 24 Parganas (South) in West Bengal, this unique financial institution has a 15 member Board of Trustees and a 52 member General Body comprising community women.
The objective of Swayamsampurna is not only to offer financial services to underprivileged rural women, but also to create and sustain a platform by which they can collectively challenge violations of their rights- financial and social. The financial literacy workshops are as vital as the three day long residential gender workshops. While the former focuses on the business aspects of Swayamsampurna and enables its members to cultivate the necessary skills required to own and manage a financial federation, the latter reveals the concepts of gender and patriarchy as well as how denying women access to all kinds of resources and opportunities is carried out systematically to keep them subjugated. This is a financial federation that does not stop at disbursing loans to women, but goes further in attempting to motivate them to exercise their choice and decision- making over the utilization of the loans and encourages them to bring about positive changes in their situation and position through their access to financial resources. Swayamsampurna places emphasis on women’s participation in livelihood activities and has specially designed loan products to serve that purpose. The operational policy of Swayamsampurna considers women as complete individuals and was developed in a democratic manner with the opinion of the members incorporated at every stage. This unique operational policy has done away with the need for male guarantors in order to avail loans from the federation. Without compromising on the business aspect of the federation, members of Swayamsampurna also campaign actively against violation of women's rights in the community and are engaged in issues such as violence against women and girls and ending early marriages of girls.
As can be seen in the chart below, the loan disbursement is quickly growing and the savings balance is also steadily increasing. Outstanding, although increasing, is staying relatively steady. What began as a fantastic recovery rate of 99.6% (as of 31/3/12) has now risen to a near perfect figure of 99.9%.
Apart from the these services, the members of Swayamsampurna actively organize events to mark national and international days such as the International Fortnight Protesting Violence against Women and Girls, International Women’s Day and National Girl Child Day.
Swayamsampurna’s financial support is spreading to more and more women each year. From 35 villages, 391 SHGs and 4174 members in 2008, we have expanded to 55 villages, 746 SHGs and 10278 members in 2015. In the last two years alone, the number of villages in which Swayamsampurna's SHGs operate has increased by 6. This has allowed for the formation of 73 new SHGs and inclusion of 1556 new members. These figures are given in the table below:
As we can see from our business plan below, in the coming years a major emphasis will continue to be put on preserving Swayamsampurna’s uniqueness which lies in striking a balance in promoting women’s financial and social rights, but provided sufficient funds are received, Swayamsampurna hopes to expand to new areas and increase the total disbursement to approximately 660660 by 2018. Swayamsampurna will also continue to focus on including an estimated 3513 more underprivileged rural women in its fold.