Microfinance and Self Help Groups
ECS initiated the Microfinance Project mainly to discourage the high interest private lenders in the villages and towns, which was making people poorer and deeper in debt, and also, to empower women in terms of their livelihood and economic status in the society.
Today we see many private lenders reducing the loan interest from 10% to 5% after the SHG movement has swept across the villages which provides them with better savings and loan benefits, and which is a huge positive impact for society. SHGs are now recognized as one of the important institutions at the village level, and through this many women have now gained the confidence through the experiences gained and skills learned, to participate in various developmental as well as social projects.
With the support given by the Nagaland State Co-operative Bank Pvt. Limited, under the Cash Credit Limit CCL Loan, many entrepreneurs were taken up by the project to support their ventures by enabling loans. 30 JLGs comprising of 148 members and 328 SHGs comprising of 2651 members were given loans individually in the last financial year.
Besides the CCL Loan, the SHG Federation (Edou) has also increased the loan circulation to 3.61 Cr which is the actual corpus built by the SHGs from 2003 to 2021 comprising of 19 Edou Federations across the districts.
The SHGs facilitated by ECS will be celebrating their 25th Year Jubilee in 2022. With renewed zeal, the project targets to provide the members with refresher training across the project area in the jubilee year along with several innovations within the project.
Due to the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 and 2021, it has been a challenging time for the SHGs as is for many institutions across the world. Regular activities of the groups were affected at large. They were not able to continue group businesses or even go to their farms or meet-ups as group meetings were not allowed. The regular flow of the group and repayment of loans is greatly impacted by the pandemic.
During this difficult time, however, many women who are struggling as their income generating channels have been affected and are coming forward to join the SHGs. Through the SHGs, women also receive loans at a lower interest rate. In just three months, 30 new groups have been formed under the ECS Microfinance project.