Pradesh has been at the forefront of the microfinance movement. The variety of
microfinance practices has taken the movement to unprecedented heights and the
consistent growth of the movement has given Andhra Pradesh a place on the world
map. As part of this growth, the Self Help Groups (SHGs), Grameen, Cooperative
and Individual lending have emerged as models of microfinance. Hyderabad, the
capital of Andhra Pradesh, is considered the mecca of microfinance in India.
Currently, there are 4,73,031 Self Help Groups with 65 lakh women members.
Both, the NGO and the Government have promoted more than 2,000 SHG federations,
which are registered under MACS. By March 2004, about 3,85,576 SHGs were linked
to Banks with a loan amount of Rs. 1,728 crores.
Mahila Abivruddhi Society, Andhra Pradesh(APMAS) is a nationwide technical and
Managerial Support Institution established to support the women's self help
movement. It works for women's empowerment and poverty alleviation through
Capacity building, quality Assessment, Research & Advocacy, Communication
and Livelihood promotion on a fee-for-service basis. APMAS is funded by DFID
through CARE India, Ford Foundation and Aga Khan Foundation.
APMAS became fully operational in July 2001 and today it has a functional
team of 40 professionals providing services to diverse stakeholders across the
state and in a limited way to other states. A variety of tools and content have
been developed to take up Quality Assessment (rating) and capacity building
services. During the process, APMAS has built strategic relationships and
accessed expertise from M-CRIL, PRIA, Sa-Dhan and other national level
agencies. Towards wider dissemination of best practices and for impacting the
quality of community based institutions, APMAS publishes a monthly magazine
called Mahila Sadhikaratha (Women Empowerment) and conducts National Immersion
Programmes for all stakeholders. APMAS has developed strong networks with the
Department of Women Empowerment & Self Employment, SERP, APRLP, PRIA,
NABARD, Andhra Bank and other state level institutions. APMAS has responded to
requests for capacity building support from training institutions located in
Hyderabad like NIRD, MANAGE, APARD, ICM and other.