Case of Self-Help Group (SHG) and Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies (MACS) – Does Federating Enable Remote Outreach?
This case examines a sub-district level federation of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) that grew out of a local trade union and Dalit (‘Dappu’ Dalitbahujan) movement. It is a three-tier system, Ankuram Sangamam Poram (ASP), a federation of SHG federations with nearly 6,000 SHG groups at its base. Also, The case demonstrates ASP’s ability to reach the unreached in large numbers. The federation absorbs the initial risks and costs associated with outreach in remote areas and to marginalized communities. However, now that they are facing competition from new entrants, they will thrive only if their systems and governance successfully meet the challenges of being a ‘business first’ and demonstrate clear gains for member-owners. The case shows that member-ownership is not enough to ensure loyalty from the lowest-tier clients, mandal, Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies (MACS) and SHGs, if inputs and services are not adequate.