The group promoter’s resource book

This resource book aims to show how group promoters can help men and women in rural communities to join together and to work to improve their income and living conditions. It presents a participatory approach in which group promoters play a key role. Their task is to help the poor to form sustainable self-help groups and undertake income-generating activities.

Why focus on forming groups? This book suggests that by working in groups rather than as individuals, the rural poor are able to combine and make best use of their skills and resources. They can exchange views and ideas and choose the best options. It also argues that most important of all, a group has more bargaining power than an individual.

Why focus on small groups? The paper also contends that small groups of less than 20 persons usually work better than larger groups. This is because members get to know and trust each other and tend to work more closely and with fewer formalities.

Why focus on income-generation? The paper highlights that higher incomes allow members to satisfy their needs and also to invest in other productive activities. In addition, working together in income generation is a good way for the members to learn to cooperate and achieve other goals.

The resource book has been designed and written mainly for group promoters, extension workers and development project staff. It can be used directly in planning and conducting group meetings as well as being useful in the training of group promoters.

The book is divided into three sections. Section 1 describes the group promoter’s functions and working methods and basic participatory learning methods. Section 2 then describes key steps in building self-help groups of the rural poor. The final section consists of the annexes that contain participatory learning and rural appraisal techniques, as well as a list of publications and addresses for further information on the self-help group approach.

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