Social and Solidarity Economy for localizing the SDGs and Scaling up Impact: The Case of Women’s Self Help Groups in India

Abstract - EN

Within the rich mosaic of gender-based initiatives in Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) in India, the women’s Self-Help Groups (SHGs) distinctly stand out as the dominant strand; and this paper argues that with a comparative advantage of a social design for developing collaborative and inclusive institutional foundations in the community, they are a compelling tool for transforming lives and driving sustainable bottom-up practices towards the SDGs through localization and co-production. Today the SHGs are an important vehicle through which the Government of India articulates its strategy for the agenda 2030. It is an important element of the local architecture of the SDGs, and a “credible means of implementation” in India, with huge potential to deliver impacts across multiple SDGs cost-efficiently. Entrenched in Solidarity, Social Mobilization, and Organization of women for Community Development, the SHGs make up the nucleus of a robust community-driven means of implementation. However, there are serious challenges (often overlooked in the policy discourse) in terms of the fragility, vulnerability and capacities of the SHGs which need to be addressed to further strengthen them as strategic players for the realization of the SDGs with cost- efficiency and greater strategic impact.

SDGs in this paper:

01. No Poverty05. Gender Equality10. Reduced Inequalities