Promoting community-based institutions for women empowerment is the core to Ibtada’s mission. These institutions empower women - to change power relations in their family and in the society, to foster decision-making power among women, to enhance their degree of control over resources and provide them space for visibility and collective action. Ibtada’s three tier Institutional architecture (SHGs, Clusters and Federations or Manch) forms the base for implementing different programmes for Financial Inclusion, Livelihoods, Girls Empowerment and Rights & Entitlements. Ibtada has promoted 10 federations until now including 5 for the NRLM. Currently, four federations- Chetna, Kranti, Sangharsh, and Savera, registered as Trusts work autonomously with handholding support from Ibtada.
Through becoming members of SHGs women do regular savings, access loans, and thus reduce the risk of social exclusion and poverty. Federations help SHGs access credit from banks and themselves also advance two kinds of loans to SHGs – loan for toilet construction and house construction. A Special Saving provision is made to cover expenditure during festivals and special occasions without affecting the groups’ saving. A fund by the name of Rahat Kosh has also been mobilized to provide financial support to the family if an SHG member or her spouse meets unforeseen death thus building solidarity and feeling of fraternity by helping a deceased member’s family in the hour of need.
The institutions (SHGs, Clusters, Federations) provide the platform for capacity building of the community in general and that of women leaders in particular. Members of the SHGs are provided regular training for strengthening their management skills in running the institutions. In addition to information about better agriculture and animal husbandry practices, women members are also chosen and trained for different roles such as Community Resource Persons, Sakhis (Adhikaar, Krishi, Pashu, etc.) that helps them earn supplementary income.
Through NABARD, SHG data is being digitized with help of smartphones and SHG Munshis (Animators). The project aims at digitisation of all the SHG accounts to bring SHG members under the fold of Financial Inclusion thereby helping them access wider range of financial services together with increasing the bankers' comfort. The digitization will help improve the interface between SHG members and Banks providing a hassle-free delivery of banking services, easy credit appraisal and linkage to universal delivery systems.