Kandi Women’s Self-reliant Journey
Kandi Jibdharpara Mahila Unnyan Samity, Regd no – S/1L/52837 (2008-09), Address – Madhunia Ulapara, P.O. & P.S. Kandi, Dist Murshidabad – 742137 took shape with an effort started in 2000 when the flood of the year 2000 had severely damaged the livelihood opportunities of the poor and marginalized. Particularly, Kandi Block was one of the worst-affected areas and SPADE’s intervention in Kandi Block was a consequence of this devastating flood of 2000. To participate in the relief distribution activities among the distressed villagers in Andulia GP of Kandi Block, SPADE, with support of OXFAM came forward but after the flood-relief operations were over, SPADE Authorities realized that distributing some relief materials is not sufficient as compared to the requirements of the community since hunger and poverty was overwhelming. Thus, something is required to be done seriously so as to reduce vulnerability of the poor people on a sustainable basis.
Consequently, Community Level Institution Building became a priority since the poor, first of all, needs to form some institutions so as to reduce vulnerability. Thus, formation and Capacity Building of Self Help Groups, became a major focus. Initially, the task was to mobilize people and motivate the women members of the family to form and join Self Help Groups (SHGs). SPADE initiated forming SHGs in Kandi Block in 2000 and attempted to link them with the local banks. Till 2002-03 SPADE had formed 100 SHGs securing financial assistance from NABARD and initially, the SHGs were following the SHG- Bank Linkage Model. However, gradually the members of the SHGs realized that it is really difficult to deal with the Bank Officials. Many a times the SHG members failed to secure the required cooperation from the Bankers and ultimately, the SHG members themselves decided to promote a Federation at Kandi. Kandi Jibdharpara Mahila Unnyan Samity was established in 2nd October, 2007 as a separate and independent Registered Society through federating about 250 Self Help Groups from four flood-prone Gram Panchayats of Murshidabad viz., Andulia, Purandarpur, Jashohari Anukha I and II and a part of Kandi Municipality with technical and managerial support from SPADE. Since some of the SHGs were Bank Linked, they were federated in a phased manner after the groups have repaid their bank loans.
Ever since the beginning, SPADE has been providing the required facilitation support and for reducing flood-related vulnerabilities of the community the philosophy of community participation and involvement in the whole gamut of flood preparedness has emerged to minimize the flood damage as far as practicable. So, in the process, the Project, Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP) took shape with the other IAG partners and through financial support from UNICEF and CARITAS – Germany. Besides, the Federation also actively participated in activities like Mother and Child Care, Immunization Program, campaign for Institutional Delivery, etc.
Till date no of SHGs are 310 with 3,172 members and 1,586 active borrowers.
The Federation took the initiative to form new SHGs in all the four Gram Panchayats and Municipal areas under its working area, viz., Andulia, Joshahri Anukha-I, Joshahri Anukha-II, Purandarpur and Kandi Municipality.