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Community and Institutional Response to COVID-19 in India: Role of Women’s SHG and NRLM

October, 2020

The women’s Self-Help Group (SHG) network promoted under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) assumed particular significance during COVID-19 given its tremendous outreach in rural areas, and the trust, social capital and networks enjoyed by women’s institutional platforms of the poor. Women’s SHGs of NRLM emerged as pivotal actors, leading from the front in crisis response. The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a trigger mobilising SHG women to come together to transcend their group identity and contribute through collective action towards crisis management, including helping those in need – thus demonstrating the transformational potential of women’s collectives. As the pandemic and its impacts continue unabated, this juncture can provide the women’s SHG movement in India the unique opportunity to define agendas and priorities that are most relevant to them during the recovery phase. NRLM can act as a critically important facilitation agency in ensuring this objective in the challenging times ahead.

With the objective of recognising the work undertaken by women’s SHGs, and highlighting their indispensable economic and social contribution, the report summarises good practices, strategies and innovations that were spearheaded by SHGs in collaboration with State Rural Livelihoods Missions during the pandemic. This report highlights that economic and social action unleashed by women’s SHGs coupled with existing institutional investments, mechanisms and collaborations forged by NRLM and SRLMs can help in developing decentralised, participatory and context-specific local solutions amid any crisis.




Resource Type Report

Partner Organisation NRLM

Topics NRLM, Self-Help Groups, COVID-19, women’s collectives

Authors Rukmini Tankha