Financial Inclusion for Sustainable Livelihood Promotion
BISWA provides a holistic approach with 5 pillars, which ensures sustainability of the programmes focusing on mobilizing savings and responsible finance.
About Your Organization
Bharat Integrated Social Welfare Agency (BISWA)
India, OR, Sambalpur
Country where this project is creating social impact
India, OR, Sambalpur
Is your organization a
Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization
How long has your organization been operating?
More than 5 years
Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them
As appreciations for good work and sustainable community development services BISWA won 26 awards till date, which include the following amongst others:
- A token of appreciations & excellence by PJ Group of Institutions, Bhubaneswar 2010
- Global Micro Finance Impact Award, 2009
- National Business Leadership Award, 2008
- India NGO Award, 2007
- Micro Insurance Award, 2006-2007
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Scaling (the next step will be growing impact on a regional or even global scale)
How long have you been in operation?
Operating for more than 5 years
Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two
The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
The Indian economy is characterized a heavy dependence on agriculture as industries are concentrated mainly in the urban areas and a highly skewed distribution of income and wealth. The economic situation in Odisha is fatal: 48% of the population lives under the poverty line. A high percentage of the working population depends on agriculture and related activities. Rural people have a poor base of resources, a low level of capacity and limited access to financial and other support services. Especially women and young people are affected. Financial inclusion has proved to be the best intervention in removing chronic poverty amongst women and enabling them to participate in economic activity by raising their income levels.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
BISWA implemented the self-help group (SHG) model, which emphasises that mobilising savings is the first building block of financial services. SHGs comprise of 14 members contributing savings into a common bank account on a regular basis. For the general eligibility of an SHG for credit linkage with BISWA the following criteria has to be met:
• The SHG must have completed 6 months
• The SHG must have attained 75% in a gradation
• All members must have been covered under insurance
• There should not be any outstanding against the SHG
• Preliminary savings are needed
When these criteria are met, BISWA provides loans to SHGs which are normally excluded from financial access as they have no collateral. SHG consists primarily of women members and therefore ensures Financial Inclusion for women from the poor and backward economies and strengthen their economic empowerment. BISWA promotes around 83,000 self-help groups having approximately 1.3 million members.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
A poor widow found it hard to survive with her two children after her husband died, as she could not find a suitable job. With her small patch of land she struggled to arrange two times meal a day for her children. She enrolled to a SHG and received her first credit of Rs.5000 for agriculture purposes. Because of her rapid repayment she could receive two further loans, which have enabled her to expand in farming, resulting in increased income. Apart from the positive changes in her personal life through involvement with BISWA, a regular income brought her the sense of savings on a regular basis. Today her total savings are Rs. 14.330. She aspired to help and initiated the urgent construction of a road in her village and motivated the villagers to give their labour during construction. This story of self reliance and empowerment is an example of how BISWA´s work is empowering women and causing a positive change in the whole community. This solution makes a difference because of the strategic objectives include 5 pillars:
1. Social Development: Empower community members
2. Micro Finance: Ensuring availability of financial services at low rates
3. Micro Insurance: Social Security
4. Micro Enterprise: Creating entrepreneurial attitude and opportunities
5. Micro Marketing: Finding a market of optimal return for the products
A holistic development of the society is only possible through sustainability of the programmes and this is only possible through proper linkage of activities that is effectively implemented by the Organisation.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
We do not see other organization as competitors as they have similar goals which should be in the spotlight. BISWA Network conducts several activities for strengthening partnership with NGOs nationwide. Its endeavours are mainly focused on coordination with partner NGOs and simultaneously to enhance their ability to execute different operations in association with BISWA.
The hallmark of BISWA livelihood programmes has been the long-term intention of asset building and active social participation of the beneficiaries. The compulsory and periodic skills-enhancement interventions differentiate us from other organizations and make sure the beneficiaries are up-to-date with market trends allowing them to leverage maximum benefit out of the programme.
This Entry is about (Issues)
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
It all started as a small dream of an individual and then grew as a snowball. As a banker 18 years ago, Mr. Khirod Chandra Malick, founder Chairman, Bharat Integrated Social Welfare Agency (BISWA), while working in the western part of Odisha, realized the debilitating impact of real poverty in the region. In fact, this was the turning point in his life, which generated an inner urge to start a philanthropic Organisation with a group of life-minded people. Thus BISWA came into existence with a very well-defined vision and mission. It is now fully committed towards sustainable development of the poor people with special emphasis on women. During this period, the Organisation has expanded to 17 other states thereby acquiring the status of a prominent national level NGO.
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
BISWA aims to offer financial services to women from lower income group at the lowest possible cost. The goal is to increase availability and use of financial services through expansion and consolidation, creation of a fair playing field for every micro-entrepreneur and reviving the root of banking, so that credit is once again based on trust and relationship, not just on creditworthiness. Gender equality and women´s empowerment are fundamental to the mission of BISWA to achieve equal rights. It´s objective is to ensure poor women a stable livelihood, self-esteem and social participation. It is also working towards generating substantial job opportunities and economic benefits by training micro-entrepreneurs so that they can produce commercial value utilising their traditional skills.
Which barrier(s) to financial inclusion does your solution seek to address? (select all applicable)
Physical and other accessibility obstacles that prevent communities from reaching financial services, The lack of affordable financial products tailored to the needs of underserved and excluded communities,.
If you selected 'other' above, please specify which other barriers to financial inclusion you solution seeks to address:
For which underserved or excluded communities will your solution create access to valuable, affordable, secure and comprehensive financial services?
The Organisation aims to make available financial services to women from the lower income group, especially in the rural and semi-urban areas of different states in India.
Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?
Our solution could be expanded to nearly all geographic regions, where the availability and use of a wider range of financial services for poor people, especially women in rural areas, has to be increased. We already started successfully to expand our business within India and are currently working in 22 States and 118 different Districts. The model can be scaled up further in India aa well as in other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
If your solution is dramatically successful, how will things be different in 10 years?
Our goal is to reach economic and social inclusion of the poor and excluded, especially women, as their still bear the major burden of poverty and till recently were excluded from the development planning and required resource allocation process. Our current work contributes to higher savings, facilitates access to financial services and strengthens women´s entrepreneurship and their control over financial resources. This contributes to women´s empowerment and will strengthen substantially women´s status in the society.
This development contributes to a continuous increase in income, an improvement of living standard and hence to eradication of extreme poverty and hunger with positive effect on education and medical health. BISWA´s approach, apart from Social Finance and Enterprise, also includes Social Development - that is education, health, water and sanitation campaigns – which ensure an impact on a broad scale which likely will continue to be dramatically successful.
What will have had to have changed to make this happen?
We have to expand Financial Inclusion further in order to achieve the above mentioned goals. In India and other parts of the world there are still areas excluded from any financial access, wherefore the outreach has to be increased. Measures have to be taken for higher efficiency in the sector and lower and costs in order to meet the existing demand.
Good institutional quality is essential for the purpose to expand businesses – BISWA focus is the responsible delivery of financial services based on client protection and social performance management.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
BISWA´s integrated approach has emerged as one of the successful means to holistic social development programmes by bringing convergence of Micro Finance, Micro Enterprise, Micro Insurance, Micro Marketing. Its development programmes address poverty eradication, livelihood promotion, basic health services, water and sanitation, education and gender equity. An overall analysis by our internal and external evaluators yields the following impacts:
• Over 1.2 Million benefitted in 22 states in India
• 850.000 women availed Micro Finance service credits, insurance and marketing assistance
• 525.00 families insured with Micro Insurance product
• 280.000 persons trained and empowered in Micro Enterprises
• 170.000 women members of SHG linked to marketing network and doing business
• Increase of school enrolment of children to 100 % and decrease in child dropout rate for all operation areas.
• 1.5 Million reaching Health Care Service
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
BISWA is already on the right track to reach its mission of “1 million jobs, 2 million toilets, 3 million water tap connections and 10 million trees by 2015” and is determined to accomplish it in the next 3 years. As a superior goal we have committed ourselves to the Millennium Goals of the United Nations.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
A problem is the ongoing uncertainty in the Microfinance Sector that can be a threat also for us, but as we offer an integrated program including mentoring, guidance and other social development projects we think, we can have a positive sight to the future. We are sure that responsible finance is the only working model in the Microfinance Sector – not only as vision, but also in terms of a pragmatic client protection and social performance management. Our strategic collaborations with government and various partnerships remain healthy and effective in delivering public goods to poor. We will further expand these relationships by long-term collaboration. The strategy is to create national level advocacy and attract multiple funding sources to multiply actions and scale up the interventions.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Providing access to new opportunities to earn their liveliness to a larger number of households
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Further 12.500 Self-help groups (a 15% increase) in order to reach 95.500 at the end of this year.
Further 222.000 clients in order to reach over 1.5 million members of SHGs at the end of this year.
An increase in loan disbursement of around 20% (from currently 70.000 to 85.000).
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Expanding the concept of microenterprises to a larger number of people
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Further 25.000 Self-help groups (35% increase) in order to reach 108.000 within 12 months.
Further 444.000 clients in order to reach over 1.7 million members of SHGs within 12 months.
An increase in loan disbursement of over 40% (from currently 70.000 to 100.000).
Tell us about your partnerships
In our projects we are supported by a number of different promoters. From government departments (e.g. Odisha State Social Welfare Board), to bilateral and multilateral donors, to international and national NGOs (e.g. UNICEF, MISEREOR from Germany), to corporate bodies and civil society networks to local governments and peoples processes we find any kind of organization in our network. Furthermore we collaborate with banks and insurances such as e.g. TATA AIG and the Bank of India to improve our projects.
Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your innovation? If so, where and why?
The Organisation started is operation from a small village named Baramunda in Odisha an expanded to all the districts of Odisha and Chhattisgarh and then on to 22 States of India covering 118 District, 355 Blocks, 4.726 Gram Panchayats and 13.378 villages over the years. The organisation spread its outreach as both, the capacities within BISWA and the demand for financial services in the different states, increased.
What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?
BISWA organises staff training modules, which are designed to bring efficiency in the field and branch operations. As training is a critical input for skill up gradation and enrichment of knowledge of the employees, it is one part which makes our innovation successful. The training focuses on improving the branch capacity related to the five major service areas of BISWA
Furthermore, BISWA has established a BISWA Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC), which is dedicated to work on related issues of innovation, globalization, social sustainability and emerging issues of climate change, gender, local governance and human rights. BRIC has been envisaged with a mandate to provide knowledge, research and extension support to BISWA for development intervention and successfully innovation.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
Talent/Networking: We help the women in the SHGs to utilise their traditional skills and talents to improve their livelihood by providing access to financial services. We support them by special trainings giving them the opportunity to learn how they efficiently generate income with their skills. Furthermore, SHGs use the contacts to other groups to improve the effectiveness of their Marketing.