Importance of Self-Help Groups | Understanding Economic Development | Formative Assessment in Social Science

September 2, 2013

importance of self-help groups

A major socioeconomic initiative in India which has also spread to some other Southeast Asian countries is the development of self-help groups in rural areas and a few urban pockets.  Self-help groups, mainly women’s self-help groups in rural areas, have led to empowerment as well as self-sufficiency and contributed in money and credit available for village communities and for running small village enterprises.  Poor people in rural areas and even in urban areas have been under the grip of moneylenders and constantly falling into debt.  This can create a vicious cycle of abject poverty and increasing debts which can even lead the poor to commit suicide.  Self-help groups and their importance is studied under the topic Understanding Economic Development in CBSE, Class 10.  The importance of self-help groups can be better understood by students of class 10 CBSE in the form of the following formative assessment activity in social science for which the guidelines are given below.

  1. Role play: Scene 1: Empathizing with the plight of poor villagers: Students discuss and enact a role play in a village where some of the villagers are under heavy debt and living in abject poverty.  They are constantly under pressure from exploitative moneylenders.  Students then discuss the plight of the poor villagers and what it must be like to live under the double-edged sword of poverty and the debt trap.
  2. Role play: Scene 2: Activist helps villagers form a self-help group: Students then enact a scene where an activist slowly wins villager’s trust and convinces them to form a self-help group.  Students need to get into the shoes of the villagers and understand that the villagers will initially be wary of the activist and of forming a self-help group.  They then slowly realize the empowering and freeing effect of forming a self-help group.
  3. Role play: Scene 3: Self-help group empowers villagers: Students then enact the scene where the villagers become self-sufficient.  They pool in money on a monthly basis, and the fund keeps building up.  Any member from the self-help group can then utilize the money from the fund in times of need. The villagers also establish a small craft enterprise with the help of the funds.  They celebrate 1 year of successfully being part of the self-help group at the end of the role-play.
  4. Interacting with self-help groups and NGOs: Students then make a field trip to a village and interact with self-help groups and NGOs working with self-help groups.  They also volunteer and record their learning experiences from the visits.

photo credit:mckaysavage via photopin

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