self help groups: Women’s World Banking signs MoU with Maharashtra to strengthen BC Sakhi program


Maharashtra government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with US-based Women’s World Banking, with funding support from MetLife Foundation, to operationalise and strengthen 5,000 women of self help groups (SHGs) to become business correspondents or BC Sakhis who help facilitate banking services in rural areas.

Women’s World Banking works for inclusive finance for low income women across the world.

Under the arrangement, Women’s World Banking will provide technical and policy advisory support to UMED to operationalise the BC sakhis in the state. This will include their identification, recruitment, training, mentoring, and supervision framework to make them bank-ready as well as serve as a liaison between financial institutions and corporate BCs. Support will also be provided for designing replicable and scalable strategies and policies for the government to make BC Sakhi a sustainable and viable model. UMED will be able to scale this program to 15,000 BC Sakhis in the first phase and then to a total of 25,000 for the entire state by 2025-2026.

“Rural Maharashtra has a vibrant SHGs ecosystem that has strong women who contribute to the state’s economy. It is critical that they have bank accounts, save regularly, and adopt other social security products and services for their financial empowerment and resilience. The creation of this cadre of women agents placed in every Gram Panchayat will ensure that the low-income customers, particularly women, will have access to a relationship-oriented agent from their own community and hence positively impact their uptake of formal financial services,” Hemant Vasekar, CEO, Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission, said.
Kalpana Ajayan, Regional Head-South Asia at Women’s World Banking said the body will draw upon their women-centred design approach and experiences from their work with various public sector banks to strengthen the capacities of BC sakhis.


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