What are SHGs?
Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are associations of individuals who decide to meet up to discover approaches to improve their living conditions. It can be characterized as a self-administered, peer controlled gathering of individuals with comparative financial foundations, coming together to execute purposes for the group as a whole. Villages face various issues identified with destitution, lack of education, absence of formal credit, and so forth. These issues can’t be handled at an individual level and need aggregate efforts. Thus, SHGs can turn into a vehicle of progress for poor or underrepresented people. SHGs depend on the idea of “Self-improvement” to support independent work and employment for poverty alleviation.
Why are SHGs important?
The very presence of SHGs is to help individuals under destitution to be confident and independent. SHGs empower them to increase their pay, improve their way of life and status in the public eye. It goes about as an impetus for carrying this segment of society to the mainstream. Ultimately, the country harvests the benefits of socialism. The SHGs help the borrower to beat the issue of the absence of collateral. They can get convenient advances for different purposes and at a reasonable interest rate. SHGs are the structure squares of organizations of the rural poor. Not just do they assist ladies with turning out to be monetarily confident, the ordinary gatherings of the group give a stage to talk about and follow up on a number of social issues, for example, poverty, domestic violence, health, and so forth.
What products do these SHGs manufacture?
The SHGs predominantly manufacture the following products:
- Agarbattis(incense sticks)
- Candles(plain / scented)
- Sarees and handloom
- Handicrafts and Woodwork
- Wall hangings
- Toys and Handbags
- Pottery items
- Lac items
Why are SHGs and their products not so well known?
The majority of these groups are involved in direct marketing. Most of the time large scale manufacturing and enormous showcasing are not considered or preferred due to their restricted reach. The packaging is also another major hindrance as it does not catch the customer’s eye, thus directly posing a question on the product’s quality. They just target individuals, family members, and other SHG individuals as their clients. In many instances, they attempt to advertise their items through the shops close by. Some SHG groups are also involved in door-to-door advertising of their items. This brings down the scope of scalability and the profits take a hit most of the time.
What makes SHGs stand out?
- Uniqueness: While entering the opposition, the SHG gatherings possess a fair advantage of bringing their profits up while not hitting the customer’s profit by minimization of production cost. And so while entering the market, they can be pioneers in terms of price point. After entering the market and gaining some momentum, they can also work on assembling methodologies that can make their items stand out from that of others.
- Collaboration: The SHGs under one umbrella of an NGO can level up and have horizontal integration in terms of promoting their items and can leverage the benefits of integration. Even the national corporations are holding hands with prominent MNCs, merging, and amalgamating with them to guarantee their survival and success in this global economy.
- Attached social value: SHGs bring with them a bundle full of culture which appeals to every section of the society. Some very well known brands have now started taking such SHGs under their umbrella to market their products while focusing on its origins and highlighting the cultural values attached to it.
How can SHGs overcome the adversities and shine out?
The poor means of advertisement is one of the major reasons for poor marketing and thus poor sales of the products by SHGs. They can approach the government to take steps to propagate the SHG products through government channels and websites free of cost or at a minimal cost.
- Collaboration with student groups, like ENACTUS, which are working for the upliftment of the underprivileged group can help provide a good reach to a diverse group of customers while ensuring a sustainable model for their sales.
- Many companies organize fairs and stalls on special occasions like Diwali. This can be an amazing place to advertise their products while also pushing for a long term collaboration with the company for CSR.
- SHGs can also set up permanent stalls at cultural heritage sites which can be a constant source of revenue. Since these sites attract a huge lot of foreigners, the sales can draw huge profits for the group.
- Advertisement of products on well known commercial sites like Amazon, Indiamart, and Flipkart can increase the product’s reach dramatically and can bring in a huge pool of customers for the range of products.
- The SHGs should also improvise on their packaging and avail standardized licenses(eg: FSSAI) which can speak for the product’s credibility.
- To scale up their establishments, SHGs can also look into microfinance programs that aim to work for the development of smaller-scale ventures and arrangement of little portions of money to defeat the blocks of lack of capital required for setting up of miniaturized scale endeavors.
Through continued efforts, SHGs can create a huge impact for the greater good of society while opening doors to their success and prosperity.
At Mitti Ke Rang, we started with a COVID-19 community support fundraising, as an emergency response to provide a safety net to families. This will help them survive in the lockdown period. We aim to directly support these families by providing a minimum wage, through transferring the same into their accounts or partner with local NGO, Organisation, Fellow, or a Volunteer and support them with groceries.
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