Swayam Shikshan Prayog - Students Summer Programme 2004

This is part of a six weeks summer program - between Swayam Shikshan Prayog and New School University with support from GROOTS International.
The purpose of the programme is to provide an opportunity for students to learn from practice. In the case of SSP, students have been exposed to community-driven, women led approaches to development and the role of organisation, which largely provides technical support and opportunities to engage with local institutions, government and banks.

Projects

Prepare advocacy materials on savings and credit groups and water and sanitation.
There are two teams. One is focusing on women’s participation in the water and sanitation programs initiated under the government’s new water sector reform policies. This group spent a week in Nanded district.
The second group went to Osmanabad district to document the operations of the federations of women’s savings and credit groups.
Each team member has a specific assignment and is expected to write an accessible rather than academic paper on the topic assigned as well as prepare a powerpoint presentation.

Water and sanitation


1. Brian: How the women’s participation in the water and sanitation program is empowering women’s groups as well as improving access to water and sanitation.
2. Michela: Investing in communities/ women’s groups to ensure greater accountability to women and their communities.
3. Abby: How ‘best practices’ and innovations in water and sanitation are being transferred and scaled up through peer learning processes.

Federations and Micro-finance.


1. Tad: The role of savings and credit groups in village development
2. Duncan: The federation structure and how it functions
3. Erin: Federation loan processes vs Bank loan processes. Advocacy material for Bankers and handouts for savings groups on how to prepare for a bank loan.

In order to prepare advocacy materials for government, bankers, donors, etc., students should communicate the outcomes and what is the process that needs to be resourced for achieving these outcomes. Papers should include the following:

1. What are SSP’s goals and how they see government programs as opportunities to expand capacities of women’s groups and expand their access to resources and decision-making. This will be common to all the assignments.
2. Discuss the outcomes in terms of women’s empowerment - indicators of empowerment would include how women perceive themselves, how the community perceives them, how local authorities or government perceive them.
3. What are the new roles that women have negotiated for themselves. Say if these new roles are endorsed by community, government officially / institutionally or informally.
4. What are the changes in women’s, families’, communities’ living conditions. Discuss outcomes of women’s participation in terms of improved access to services - financial services, water, sanitation, education, etc.
5. What is the process by which these outcomes are achieved - learning process, what skills were acquired, what tools, innovations developed used, what information was disseminated
6. Analyse the initiative being documented in terms of how it is different from the conventional approach. Eg. SSP expands the conventional roles set out for women in government programs, it emphasizes building capacities of communities to demand better governance from the local authorities and government. Micro-credit is generally managed and owned by banks not communities.
Some of the Macro contextual issues that can frame the analysis
1. Decentralization and the need to invest in citizen’s participation to create effective programs and policies
2. Good governance usually means investing in improving capacities of government, much less is said about how there needs to be investments in creating active citizen’s participation and providing mechanisms for citizen’s to engage with authorities.
3. Public- private partnership is usually interpreted as Government - Corporate partnership, not local authority-community partnerships
4. Who owns and disseminates knowledge, how can women claim it and leverage it. How can communities benefit from ‘best practices’.
5. Microfinance: Financial service provision vs savings and credit as a tool for empowerment.