Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA)- A Microfinance Success Story in Andhra Pradesh

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Case Details:

Case Code : ECON011
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 1980 - 2003
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA)
Industry : Microfinance
Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"What we see happen here I want to see happen in every country"

- Kofi Annan, Secretary General - UNO in March 2001, Commenting on the success of DWCRA.

Empowering Women

'Export orders for the pickles produced by DWCRA group.' 'Export order from South Africa worth Rs 0.8 million' - these were just two of the success stories of the Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) groups in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (AP). While DWCRA's success was attributed to many factors, analysts felt that the government had played an important role in the success of the movement. The involvement of several corporates, too was responsible for making the program successful.

The benefits of DWCRA were many. The microfinance available through DWCRA helped rural women start income generating activities.

Not only that, women were also becoming more aware of their rights and more socially responsible. According to newspaper reports, DWCRA had made rural women realize the importance of education. The number of girls going to schools also increased due to this awareness.

However, not all were convinced about the success of the DWCRA program. Some analysts were critical about the role played by the government. They felt that the government was using DWCRA as a political weapon rather than to change the lives of the rural poor. They also pointed out that lack of training and failure to adapt to industry's needs, would lead to the inevitable failure of some of the DWCRA groups.

In spite of all these criticisms, it was generally accepted that the DWCRA program had been successful in bringing about much needed change and awareness among the rural women.

Functioning of DWCRA

In September 1982, the Government of India (GOI) launched the DWCRA program2 under the Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP)3. The program was started in 50 districts (all over India) on a pilot basis. This was the first rural development program which focused entirely on the development of women and children.

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1] Rao, Kesava, Face to Face with Rural Women, The Hindu, March 18, 2001.

2] Initially UNICEF provided assistance to the program. But it suspended its assistance wef 1.1.1996.

3] The IRDP program was initiated by government of India in 1978-79 to bring about integrated rural development by providing credit and training assistance to the families below the poverty line to create income generating activities.


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