The Priority Areas Committee of the Church of Scotland has won the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Award 2013 for their role in transnational inspiration and learning in the fight against poverty and social exclusion.
EAPN has rewarded the committee for its work in setting up Self-Reliant Groups in Scotland through its project ‘Passage from India’, which is now an independent charity.
Self-Reliant Groups (SRGs) are small groups of women who come together on a weekly basis, on the principles of self-help and solidarity, to collectively grow their economic aspirations and confidence to start-up microbusinesses and meet their credit needs in some of Scotland’s poorest neighbourhoods.
The idea came from a visit to India in 2010 to India where a group of women from Glasgow interacted with women involved in similar groups. There are nearly 8 million such groups which already exist in India.
Out of the initial six SRGs, four have already established microenterprises with their self-generated capital – as little as £1 – and matched by a microfinance scheme that has been set up with the help of the Guild of the Church of Scotland. The aim is to have 50 such groups across Scotland, involving over 350 women from underprivileged communities over the next two years.
The Rev Dr Martin Johnstone, Secretary of the Priority Areas Committee, commented: “The award acknowledges what we already know. Women in Scotland have learnt from their peers in India, and together they are bringing about positive change in their families and communities. That transformation is the really important thing.”
The leader of the project Noel Mathias will attend the award ceremony on September 30th in Brussels to accept the award on behalf of the committee.
Around 100 members of EAPN from all over Europe will also be present, along with members of the Obertament organisation in Spain and the Stichting Barka programme in the Netherlands with whom they are sharing the award.