Shambhavi Srivastava

Shambhavi is a Senior Research Manager at Sattva and brings in 8 years of experience in research and public policy projects in the sectors of rural livelihoods, women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion. Shambhavi brings with her strong expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methods using mixed-method approaches, statistical tools and experience with leading outreach and dissemination activities on the field and in the ecosystem. She has served as a Principal Investigator (PI) on numerous gender, public health, financial inclusion and rural livelihood projects.

Prior to Sattva, Shambhavi worked as Research Manager for Institute of Financial Management and Research (IFMR LEAD), India where she served as the PI and programme lead for policy projects in the Financial Inclusion vertical on multi-stakeholder projects in collaboration with partners such as DFID, Access Assist, SIDBI, Ministry of Finance and the University of Munich.

Shambhavi holds a Master of Arts degree in Cultural and Social Geography from the University of British Columbia, Canada, a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations and Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India and a Bachelors in Political Science from Lady Shriram Delhi University, India.

More than Money

Elderly self-help groups in rural areas provide more than just financial security.

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in India defines Self Help Groups (SHGs) as “small economical homogenous affinity groups of rural poor, voluntarily formed to save and mutually contribute to a common fund to be lent to its members as per group decision.” The loans that the rural poor can avail of is utilized in a number of ways, including generation of income through entrepreneurial pursuits.

Earning a living, however, is not the sole reserve of under-60-year olds. Given their vulnerabilities, elderly people in villages need it just as much. In the last two decades, HelpAge India has pioneered the creation of Elder Self-Help Groups or ESHGs in rural India to provide livelihood support to the elderly. The success of this model has led to its adoption by the Ministry of Rural Development for the National Rural Livelihoods Mission in India, for 5,543 ESHGs, impacting 67,014 elders across 12 states in India. The ESHG members may save as low as an amount as INR 30 (USD 0.42) per month per person, and then pool their resources to inter-lend within their group of 10-20 people, eventually moving on to larger loans through financial linkages with banks. They may then individually or collectively engage in income generating activities, such as taking on the project of cooking the midday meal for children in the village school.

While ESHGs have potent financial impact on the lives of the aged, there are also some lesserknown social aspects that are harder to quantify and may often be empirical in nature. However, there is no denying the positive impact they have on the personal psyche and relationships of seniors.

Sattva_Insights_MoreThanMoney_AditiChatterjee

Increased inter-generational bonding
Travels into rural West Bengal brought us in touch with 10 such ESHGs, including a few 80-year-olds who walked into the ESHG meeting bent over crude walking sticks. They were too old to earn the INR 1 (less than 2 US cents) a day that they had to contribute to the collective savings fund. They proudly announced though, that their grandchildren gave them INR 1 a day from their own daily “pocket-money” of INR 5 so that the grandparents could be a part of the ESHGs. Though anecdotal in this instance, ESHGs have been known to increase intergenerational bonding within the family due to similar circumstances.

Improved status within the family
Old age is sometimes associated with familial neglect. However, ESHG members often enjoy improved status within their families. One of the reasons for this is that they are able to contribute to the family income through their own earnings via the ESHG. Even in the absence of such earnings, the elderly nominate family members who will be the recipient of their ESHG savings and the interest it accrues upon their demise. Having an inheritance to leave behind therefore also contributes to their improved social standing within the family.

Antidote to loneliness
Even with improved social status in the family, loneliness is a real concern for the aged. Amidst their own work and household chores, family members may have little time to spare to engage with the elderly folks in the house.

However, village elders who had become ESHG members said that they had organized outings to picnic spots and religious sites as a group – something they had never tried before. Others mentioned that when ill-health hampered their mobility, the whole group congregated close to their house for the weekly meetings so that they could be a part of it. Interestingly, the elderly having their own social circle led to decreased stress for the care-givers in the family too, and therefore often resulted in more harmonious family relationships.

Broadened horizons and collective action
Among the most remarkable effects of the ESHGs however, is the impact of exchange tours to other ESHGs. Not only does this expose members to wonders they had never experienced in their own lives (like travelling by train for the first time, or seeing running water flowing out of a tap), it also gets them acquainted with best practices of other groups. There have been reports of groups who almost doubled their contribution to the savings fund to provide small stipends for more destitute members. Dolon Mukherjee, a Ph.D. scholar in gerontology and a HelpAge India veteran, commented that ESHGs who had met such groups came back to their own villages and started to save INR 2 instead of INR 1 per month. The reason? To set up a parallel avenue of pensions for members of their ESHGs who did not have access to state pensions and social security benefits.

Elder Self-Help Groups have, therefore, not just helped the elderly financially, but also given them a new lease on their social and personal lives in their twilight years.
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This article was originally published in Impact Magazine and can be accessed here.

You can find more Insights from Sattva here.

To talk to us for collaborations or partnerships, you can write to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Finclusion: Empowering Women Through Digital Finance

Did you know that poor women account for 1.1 billion of the world’s unbanked adults, or most of the financially excluded?

Financial inclusion needs to bridge gender gaps for it to become truly inclusive, and India has a long way to go in this respect.

In order for digital finance to reach rural women sustainably, there is a need to bring together stakeholders from policy, government, businesses, digital financial solution providers, community-based organisations, and funders, to discuss pathways to collaboration for sustained outcomes.

To achieve this, L&T Financial Services and Sattva have taken a bold first step in focusing their efforts on digital financial inclusion of women in rural India through the conception of Finclusion: Empowering Women Through Digital Finance – a participatory dialogue on learnings, gaps and potential to harness digital financial inclusion for rural women in India.

The summit will take place on 1st February, 2019 from 9am to 2pm in New Delhi.

In an effort to establish knowledge sharing and thought leadership in this largely untapped ecosystem, Finclusion will bring together some of the most eminent thought leaders in the space, including Shri Krishnan Dharmarajan of Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion and Renana Jhabvala of SEWA Bharat among others.
With discussions on topics of great contemporary significance like “Partnerships in effective delivery of financial inclusion” among panellists like Prabhat Labh, CEO of Grameen Foundation and P. Satish, Executive Director of Sa-Dhan, the national-level platform hopes to facilitate vibrant discussions between stakeholders across the board, and ultimately, enable sharing of best practices, solutions and partnerships around women empowerment through digital finance.

Finclusion: Empowering Women Through Digital Finance is an event you won’t want to miss, especially if you wish to leave a lasting impact in the digital financial inclusion space.

To participate in our event, write to aashika.ravi@sattva.co.in.

Rahul Shah

Rahul is part the Consulting Services team in Mumbai, with experience working on organisational development with both small and large NGOs, CSR design and implementation, development impact bonds, fundraising and impact assessment.

His diverse experience in the development sector has evolved from his time working at the grassroots level in Ahmedabad, India, to community organising in his hometown of Washington, DC, consulting with social organisations across domains and managing multi-year development projects. Prior to joining Sattva, Rahul worked with TechnoServe India where he managed a CSR funded accelerator programme for women-led social enterprises and NGOs, and a USAID funded project transferring frugal agricultural innovations from India to Africa. In addition to his development sector work, he has five years of progressive experience in corporate finance with industry leading, Fortune 500 corporations in the United States.

Rahul has an MBA and an MS Finance from the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business and an Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Georgetown University.

Bobbymon George

Bobbymon heads Assessments in Sattva and is based in our Bangalore office.

He has delivered evaluation assignments across sectors and with key CSR accounts such as ABG, JPMorgan, ACC, Philips, L&T Infotech, L&T Financial Services, Dell and Fidelity. He comes with over 13 years of experience in the development sector, across programme design, implementation and Monitoring and Evaluation. He has led Programme Delivery, Curriculum Development, setting up Monitoring & Evaluation frame works and tools in non-profits.

He is also a master facilitator/trainer in Life Skills.

Suhas Urs

Suhas is part of our Consulting Services team in Mumbai, designing and implementing programmes for CSR clients.

Before joining Sattva he was a Gandhi Fellow, where he worked with 5 Government Schools across Surat, Gujarat in the School Transformation Program and carried out focused skill based interventions with the teachers to help improve the student learning levels. At Sattva he has worked with a key CSR client of Sattva in designing and implementing a flagship programme. He has also worked with non-profits in designing the organisational strategy for fundraising.

Suhas has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering from Sai Vidya Institute of Technology, Bangalore.

Mohana Rajan

Mohana Rajan is part of the Consulting Services team in Mumbai.

Prior to Sattva she has worked in the corporate as well as development sectors and as a Legislative Assistant to Mr. Jyotiraditya Scindia. She has worked with Foundations, Philanthropists, Corporate CSR and Non-profits in the areas of skill development, healthcare and children with special needs. She is passionate about gender equality and is keen to look into innovative models that can emulate corporate success in the development sector.

Mohana is a mechanical engineer from NITK Surathkal and a graduate of IIM Bangalore.

Manasi Parvatikar

Manasi leads key client engagements in Africa and Southeast Asia for Sattva’s international business unit, working with social enterprises, funders and donors that are working in the intersection of food security, climate change and gender inclusion in Africa and South-East Asia.

Prior to Sattva, Manasi was an Analyst and Engagement Manager, working on Market Entry Strategy​, Strategic Sales and Channels Planning, Business Modelling, Marketing Ecosystem Planning and more. She has also co-authored reports on topics related to Indian small and medium businesses – operational challenges and opportunities and India IT Report Card – Implications of federal budget. At Sattva she has worked with key CSR clients in helping develop national strategies around waste and water management. She has further helped developed programmes around marine waste management and integrated village watershed development.

Manasi is a Mathematics graduate from the University of Delhi.

Lakshmi Sethuraman

Lakshmi currently leads the sales function at Sattva. She has been with Sattva since 2010 and has led a diverse set of projects during this time working extensively with leaders of social organisations in building and scaling their operations sustainably. She has also worked with key CSR clients of Sattva in designing, implementing impactful programmes.

Prior to Sattva, Lakshmi has worked with the Manipal Group, Jubilant Retail and ITC Hotels across sales, business development and strategy functions. She holds a PGDM from T.A.Pai Management Institute.

Anita Kumar

Anita Kumar leads the Strategic Initiatives group at Sattva. She has over a decade of experience in both the private sector and the development sector and has worn various hats – employee in a large corporate, freelancer, and entrepreneur. She was with Procter & Gamble for five years in Sales & then Go-to-market Strategy for All-India. In 2009 she shifted to the development sector to use her skills to solve more complex social issues, and was consulting with different social organisations through her firm InsightsApplied including the Tamil Nadu Government, and various Foundations. For about 1.5 years, she consulted full-time with one of the large skill training organisations in the country helping them across a range of activities including mission alignment, impact measurement, sales strategy and partnerships.

Last year she co-founded a social enterprise which used technology to bridge information gaps about learning and livelihoods for disadvantaged youth. Anita is a graduate of IIM Calcutta (2004) and has an MSc in Development Management from LSE.