The Self-Help Groups program directly addresses three major areas in the lives of women - financial, social and political.
The Self-Help Group is a group of the poorest of the poor women identified by a community. The women come together to share their issues and work on finding solutions together. The group performs the three functions of being a social, economic and political group. The Self Help Group Project works to promote saving among community members. Saving is a crucial step in escaping poverty. These savings can then be used for paying school fees, medical treatment during sickness, business investment, as well as personal consumption.
The Self-Help Groups members also help each other during times of need. Together they are able to build each other's confidence, work on problems and come up with solutions. Once there are 8 to 10 strong Self-Help Groups in a geographical area, they can form a CLA (Cluster Level Association). Each Self-Help Groups selects 2 or 3 of their members to represent them at the CLA. The concept of Self-Help Groups and CLA are different. In the SHG's members are working towards the benefit of the group members, and that of their children and families, but in the CLA representatives start looking at higher levels, thinking about community problems and how to find solutions for them.
Self-Help Groups provides a culturally appropriate way for these women to see positive change in their lives.