The current Her International / CP micro-credit program involves two types of beneficiaries. The first is composed of mothers whose daughter (s) are supported by Her / CP. The second is composed of mothers who do not have a daughter supported by Her / CP. Both are called « mother groups » and the name of the area of their village identifies which group they belong to. Here are the mothers of our first groups in 2009:
Micro-credits focus on the development of mothers’ autonomy. These credits are facilitated by Her / CP without any financial support when the group is formed. In order to avoid a culture of dependency, mothers whose daughter (s) are supported by Her / CP must also give something back to Her / CP in exchange for their daughter’s scholarship (s). ).
Her International, as one of CP Nepal’s main funders, has a policy stating that all Her beneficiaries are asked to donate something in exchange for Her’s support. The beneficiaries, however, decide what they consider acceptable according to their situation. In this case, Tharu mothers are extremely poor. Since 2009, mothers have offered to donate 10 rupees ($ 0.10 / €) to Her / CP at their monthly meetings. Her / CP has since allowed mothers to place their 10 rupees in a common fund, which at that time was an average of $ 0.14 / € per mother.
Mothers started borrowing money from the pool they had built up with their respective groups at a 1% interest rate. Without realizing it, mothers’ groups had just started a micro-credit program using their meager contributions. Because it was their money, they organized themselves with minimal support from Her / CP staff in the field. They learned to be responsible and trustworthy for the benefit of their investment funds, they shared their resources and worked to solve their problems through discussion and goal setting.
Her / CP currently has 13 mother groups with 460 people, 8 of whom were trained between 2008 and 2010 and 4 were trained between 2009 and 2011. The program has increased thanks to the women in the villages who have asked for form similar groups because of the success of the original groups. The new groups are organized in the same way. Her / CP groups are micro-credit and life-skills groups where mothers take full responsibility for the group’s activity. The common pool of the groups is built from the mothers’ own contributions. Each group decides on their orientations and elects its own President, Secretary and Treasurer.
Each group decides which mothers are most in need of a loan when there is not enough money in the pool to meet all the demands. Mothers also discuss the difficulties of everyday life and do not forget to focus on solutions rather than problems. Among other topics: how to better use the health center, improve hygiene, solve the needs of pregnant mothers and how to protect themselves in case of domestic violence. Each group operates on the principles of equality and transparency. All members of the group are aware of financial transactions. These groups have developed a strong sense of responsibility towards one another.
A financial incentive is offered to the mothers’ group each year in the event of good functioning and success within the group. Her / CP emphasizes that motivation is linked to their commitment to accountability and effective use of borrowed funds. Motivation is offered at the Tharu Maghi Festival through a public event focusing on the achievements of mothers. The mothers are proud because none of them has failed to repay their loan, and this since the beginning in 2009.