Rajasthan’s SHGs help African women to farm and flourish

Women representatives from Mali and Senegal, who are saving up to ₹17 crore a year and utilsing the money for inter loaning, have supported one another with funds during emergencies

Updated - June 16, 2024 02:23 pm IST

Published - June 16, 2024 02:55 am IST - JAIPUR

Members of cooperative federations in Mali and Senegal have benefited from the training received in Rajasthan

Members of cooperative federations in Mali and Senegal have benefited from the training received in Rajasthan | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A women’s self-help group (SHG) model in Rajasthan’s Dholpur district has helped about 12,500 women in the West African countries of Mali and Senegal earn livelihoods, conserve environment and establish cooperative federations to take up farming, biogas production, poultry farming and goat rearing.

Women leaders from nine cooperatives in the two countries were on a visit to Rajasthan recently to get trained in new avocations. Women from Dholpur’s SHGs, established by the Rajasthan Grameen Ajeevika Vikas Parishad (Rajeevika), had earlier travelled to Mali and Senegal to share their expertise in rural income generation activities.

Dholpur’s SHG model is based on five principles of Rajeevika – weekly meeting, weekly savings, internal borrowing, loan repayment and maintenance of records. Additional Chief Secretary (Rural Development) Abhay Kumar said the ‘Pancharatna Mission’ had immensely helped in the reach of SHG’s products in the market. “As the rural women in Rajasthan have good exposure to agricultural technology, they have ensured success of the SHG model,” Mr. Kumar said.

Women representatives from Mali and Senegal, who are saving up to ₹17 crore a year and utilsing the money for inter loaning to connect other women with income generation activities, have supported one another with funds during emergencies. The model has empowered the rural communities to take collective action for promoting economic development and self-governance.

Women from Dholpur gave training in the two African countries for the formation of SHGs, followed by the establishment of cooperative federations. The African women learnt about running the federations and manufacturing of products.

The African representatives visited Dholpur, Bharatpur, Ajmer, Jaipur and Udaipur districts to get training from the Rajeevika groups. Mr. Kumar said since the climate in Rajasthan, suitable for millet production, was similar to that in the two African countries, the federation members received tips about growing millet during the training.

Mr. Kumar, who interacted with the African women at Indira Gandhi Nahar Mandal’s headquarters here, said the cooperation between the two sides would continue in future. He said the Rajeevika had played an important role in the socio-economic development of rural communities. Throwing light on similarities in the vegetation in Africa and Rajasthan, Mr. Kumar said the coarse grains were suitable, like Rajasthan, for the environment of African countries as well.

Fatouma Diallo Sero, president of a women’s cooperative federation in Mali, said she was impressed with the election process of the federation leaders in Rajasthan. She said her federation would adopt a similar process and train other women in entrepreneurship.

Niama Ivonne Sacko, another woman leader from Mali, said she would implement the five principles of Rajeevika with an emphasis on the institution building to enable them to play a meaningful role in increasing the income of women farmers. She said she would motivate the farmers to adopt water harvesting techniques, which she had witnessed in Rajasthan, to irrigate their agricultural fields in a productive manner.

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