SHG Resilience Project
Background + Situation Research in high-income countries (HICs) shows that improving resilience consistently predicts positive mental, physical, educational, and livelihoods outcomes. However, few programs in India or other developing countries have focused on improving resilience as a key lever for impacting mental and physical well-being and fostering development. Self-help groups (SHGs) present a relatively unexplored opportunity to improve resilience among women in India. While SHGs were originally formed to foster financial independence among women, there has been growing recognition that other services and strategies, such as health education, and now resilience, must be employed to help women and their families lift themselves out of poverty. Today, there are over 2.2 million SHGs in India, representing 33 million members. CorStone Response | SHG Resilience Project CorStone’s SHG Resilience Project builds resilience among low-income women in self-help groups (SHGs) in Bihar, India, aiming to increase their physical health, mental and emotional wellbeing, social capital and life skills. To our knowledge this is the first evidence-based resilience training program to be delivered in SHGs in India. Working in partnership with Project Concern International, with support from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2016 we will begin with feasibility and acceptability trials of our resilience curricula and associated impact assessments. In all, approximately 3,000 women in 200 SHGs will participate in the initial trials. SHGs will cover a specific resilience topic each month. Modules will be designed to tie directly to women’s lives and most urgent goals, such as using communication skills to self-advocate for themselves, understanding one’s Character Strengths as a means to improve physical health, and using conflict resolution to improve teamwork in financial enterprises. CorStone will employ a train-the-trainer model that will utilize Community Mobilizers, supported by CorStone Training Officers to conduct key resilience sessions on a monthly basis with their SHGs, followed by short, weekly follow-up exercises. As women in SHGs in Bihar are mostly illiterate or have very low literacy, these resilience sessions will be conducted using a mix of games, songs, activities, and visuals. By the end of the trials we hope to establish some of the first-ever evidence that adding resilience programming to health education for women in SHGs leads to greater physical, emotional, social, and economic improvements than those achieved by health education alone.