Setting up Women's Credit Societies

Creating Sustainable Livelihoods for Women in Uluberia, West Bengal

Creating Sustainable Livelihoods for Women in Uluberia, West Bengal


In India, participation of women in the labour force is extremely low – only 29% of all Indian women in the working age group are willing to work. However, in some parts of rural India this number can go as low as 9%. Swaniti observed barriers to self-employment in Uluberia as being i) lack of access to capital due to inadequate banking facilities; ii) excessive paperwork required for registration of women self-help groups (SHGs); iii) mismanagement of funds available under government sponsored self-employment schemes ; and iv) underdeveloped markets


Swaniti decided to work on the issue by scaling up women’s cooperative credit societies. Such a system ensures greater transparency and it also enhances the access to capital required for self-employment. The team worked at the block level to raise awareness about cooperative credit societies by engaging local women. They then worked with the Panchayats and local leadership to schedule seminars. Swaniti conducted several such seminars in both Shyampur and Udaynarayanpur, with an average audience size of 80.


The seminars impacted more than 400 women. The team received an enthusiastic response from participants and secured buy-ins from all stakeholders. Swaniti also assisted in setting up 2 additional self-help groups (SHGs), which provided employment opportunities to 50 more women. An increased access to capital worth Rs 5,00,000 was made possible.