The central issue addressed by this book, using six Indian case studies, is the impact of micro-credit (financial services for the poor) on poverty and women’s empowerment. The six case studies cover a range of organization forms. Micro-credit in India predominantly uses two group-lending models-the Self-Help Group [SHG] and the Grameen-and is usually focussed on women clients. Each SHG is a group of 12 to 20 women and this group is a micro-bank in that it accepts savings from, and lends to, its group members; and often borrows from other financial institutions. Some micro-credit institutions replicate the Bangaladesh Grameen model—typically, five-woman groups are formed, with eight groups affiliated into a centre. However, the group and centre are not micro-banks, the savings and loan portfolios are “domiciled” in the Grameen replicator. The centre is where, once a week, banking operations are conducted.
April 2006, volume 30, No 4