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Promoting Quality Bookkeeping in Self-Help Groups: The Mahakalasm Management Information System

This document which is one of the Learning Products generated under the “Improving Efficiency – Maximizing Human and Physical Resources” Practitioner Learning Program, introduces the book-keeping system that the Covenant Centre for Development (CCD), based in Madurai, India, devised for the self-help groups they have promoted in Tamil Nadu. The paper first introduces the concept of self-help groups (SHGs) in India and gives some background to the work of CCD.

The authors then go on to explain the details of the books of accounts which the SHGs have to keep and how they made the system as simple as possible so that the group members could learn to manage it themselves. They give an interesting account of the challenges they faced and where they see opportunities for improvement. They conclude that accurate book-keeping is essential for the strength and long-term stability of SHGs and suggest that their paper-based MIS helps groups to maintain records in a compact, efficient and systematic manner. An appendix at the back provides an example of the system and some of the layouts used.

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