Sa-Dhan has strong engagement with water and sanitation financing segment and is instrumental to bring water and sanitation portfolio under Priority Sector Lending. Sa -Dhan has conducted studies and undertook advocacy activities with the lenders to facilitate water and sanitation loan to the poor people. Further Sa-Dhan conducted scope of studies in seven states to find out the financial gaps that can be catered by MFIs to achieve the objective of “Swachh Bharat Mission” and for the promotion of WATSAN financing. Going forward, Sa-Dhan started Water Credit Adoption (WCAD) programme in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and urged the MFIs to develop Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) product in their portfolio. In order to make WASH financing more sustainable and robust, WCAD – II was relaunched in four states from 1st Jan 2020 for two years. During the pandemic, Sa-Dhan upgraded Information Education Communication (IEC) materials, focussed on the health problems in absence of toilets and clean drinking water along with the solutions to overcome the issues. The efforts yielded fruitful results as MFIs educated their clients on health and hygiene during unprecedented challenges. Additionally, Sa-Dhan’s continuous engagement with financial institutions like NABARD and its subsidiaries also other banks, lenders etc. on their participation in this segment enabled MFIs receive financial assistance to strengthen their WASH portfolio and to fulfil the credit need of borrowers.
Considering the success in the above-mentioned states, Sa-Dhan had selected five MFIs from the existing Water Credit Adoption (WCAD) states programme and designed a pre-graduation programme to strengthen their capacity in a more refined way. Sa-Dhan is also facilitating WATSAN financing through the MFIs in four states. Sa-Dhan being the facilitator of the programme, has conducted various training programmes to build up the capacity of MFIs to promote WASH Financing.
Sa-Dhan since its inception, engaged in the capacity building of the clients, and financial literacy as this is a much-required programme for microfinance institutions. In this regard, Sa-Dhan in partnership with RBI under the Depositors Education Awareness (DEA) Scheme was supposed to organise 2250 workshops across 22 states to educate the depositors on the various financial aspects. The objective of the workshops would be to educate the depositors on the various financial aspects like creating awareness on Opening of Bank Accounts, KYC, Anti Money Laundering etc. Sa-Dhan had completed the first two phases with a Pilot training of 240 trainers through 8 ToT (Training of Trainers) workshops in 8 states. The workshops were organized at Bengaluru, Chennai, Ernakulum, Ahmedabad, Raipur, Kolkata, Lucknow and Patna respectively.
Due to the pandemic, Sa-Dhan engaged virtually to organise Pilot training for 600 MFI clients in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Tamil Nadu (TN) after consultation with RBI. The U P pilot training was with semi-urban clients of Midland Microfin Limited, and the Tamil Nadu pilot training was for urban clients of Valar Aditi Social Finance Private Limited. The topics included Financial Awareness (opening of bank Accounts/ E-KYC documents etc), Nomination and RBI Basic Savings Bank Deposit account. As reference material for the clients animated videos from the RBI site were used. Field officers have also circulated Information Education & Communication (IEC) Material in both Hindi and Tamil languages. The pilot was completed in the scheduled time frame and a concise report has been sent to the RBI.
As the pandemic is over we are soon to start with the physical mode of training for the clients with the help of the MFIs.
SUsing an integrated approach of strategy, policy-advocacy and client engagement Sa-Dhan has been undertaking the task of scaling up affordable housing for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). Sa-Dhan in this regard had set up two Housing Support Services (HSS) with the aid of Foreign & Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). These hubs provided services required by the clients ranging from documentary support to livelihood advisory support, skill building, grievance redressal as well as financial inclusion.
Further, Sa-Dhan is consolidating its efforts in Puri and Konark as this is the cyclone ‘Fani’ affected area, to facilitate Housing Microfinance/Micro-mortgage loans at an affordable price to the EWS clients. To discuss the challenges faced by the EWS clients with regards to housing requirements a client interface meet programme at Konark district of Puri was organised. MFI clients and financing institutions (MFIs, Banks, HFCs, SFBs, and Government officials from notified area) attended the programme to discuss the accessibility to funds for ‘Kutchha to Pukka house’, fulfil the gap between demand and supply with the support of MFIs and challenges of accessibility to government schemes (PMAY) challenges. As an outcome of the meet an incremental housing product has been prepared and, 35% of MFIs have qualified for the product to be taken forward.
Furthermore, Sa-Dhan in collaboration with LaRaksha Social Impact Trust Pilot steered a project on Roofing Loan Affordable Housing. The objective of this initiative is to provide shelter loans to economically weaker sections in costal Odisha. The housing support services hub teams have started field visits to identify potential clients for roofing loans.
Sa-Dhan has rolled out a project “To Develop a Digital Ecosystem for Improving Access to Finance for Unbanked” supported by HSBC. The project has three broad goals: (a) Promoting education, including special education, (b) Promoting gender equality and empowering women and (c) Rural Development. The project is for a period of 4 years covering pan India starting with Nadia, West Bengal, followed by Sangrur, Punjab and Chennai, Tamil Nadu. In the fourth year of this project, Sa-Dhan in association with Pahal Financial Services Pvt Ltd organized a week-long series of Digital Financial Literacy Training workshops for Clients and Loan Officers in Ahmedabad. During the workshops, 563 clients and 40 last mile agents attained digital financial literacy.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has awarded a capacity building project (Supporting Microfinance and Lending Partner Financial Institutions in the pandemic and post pandemic response) to the consortium of BASIX Consulting, Ankuram Social Ventures Ltd and Sa-Dhan. The primary objective of the project is to build the resilience of MFIs in the post pandemic time. The intervention would support the small MFIs to successfully get over the various challenges to attain the overarching goal of poverty alleviation and the empowerment of emerging entrepreneurs. The project primarily supports the MFIs in the key areas of Governance, Client Protection, Risk Management, Business Continuity Planning (BCP) in crisis related scenarios.
Sa-Dhan, in association with SELCO Foundation designed a demonstration of the role of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in providing asset-based solutions for enhancing livelihoods of under-served communities. The objective was to reduce carbon foot prints by adoption of Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) based livelihood Assets in addition to home lighting systems (SDG 7 & 13).
Sa-Dhan is in the process of bringing in several organizations (The Clean network, Council of Energy-Environment-Water (CEEW)) to bring synergy into the initiative. We are also engaging with the Ministry of Power with our continued dialogue with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).
After an initial training and a baseline study Sa-Dhan is handholding MFIs for Product Diversification, Business Planning and Customized Operational Models and has also created policy briefs on adoption of renewable energy- based livelihood assets to be circulated amongst all stakeholders.
Sa-Dhan is engaged with Policymakers/Stakeholders to create an ecosystem by identifying products and equipment which help in developing climate-resilient agriculture barriers to investment in these technologies that support climate resilience, and the support needed for accessing finance.