What is APMAS?
APMAS was set up in 2001 on a public-private partnership model with the objective of enhancing the quality and sustainability of the SHG movement and community based inclusive interventions. Over the years, APMAS has emerged as a premier resource organization in the fields of capacity building and strengthening of Community based organizations (CBOs) and other stakeholders, quality assessment of SHGs and CBOs, rural livelihood promotion and research and advocacy.
APMAS has the most diversified Board representing the government, banks, academic and research institutions, distinguished individuals, NGOs and community based organisations. The Board of APMAS constituted a Consultative Forum consisting of the women SHG representatives, which provides inputs and advice based on their own experiences, analysis and perspectives.
Focus Areas of Work
Capacity Building: Enhancing the quality and sustainability of SHG movement through capacity building of the SHPIs and Bankers is the key objective of APMAS. The range of trainings given by APMAS covers; Trainings of Trainers in Participatory Training Methodology (PTM), SHG Concepts, Promotion of SHG Federation, Visioning at SHG Federation level, MACS Act, Book-keeping and Accountancy, Delinquency and Financial Management, Legal Compliances, Managing Audit, Credit Planning and Recovery Management. Over the past ten years, APMAS has trained more than 1,50,000 professionals and SHG federation representatives. In addition to trainings, APMAS team provides hand-holding and mentoring support in field operations.
Ratings: Rating of SHG Federations and community based microfinance institutions (CBMFIs) is one of the innovations brought in by APMAS in the microfinance sector in the country. APMAS developed many tools to asses the quality of SHG federations. During the last 10 years, APMAS assessed about 460 SHG federations by using these tools and supported few organizations in developing customized rating tools.
Self-Regulation System for SHGs and SHG Federations: APMAS is currently engaged in piloting a Self-Regulatory system for SHGs and SHG Federations (called “Swayam Niyantrana Udhyamam … SNU in Telugu) project, the pilot project is being implemented in Kamareddy Cluster of Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh. The overall objective of SNU is to ensure that SHG members set their agenda and manage and control the processes, so that the SHG systems are sustainable and successfully work for the benefit of SHG members. As part of up-scaling, concepts, processes and learning are being disseminated to all the major stakeholders in India, including GOI, NABARD, GIZ & State Governments.
Urban SHG Strengthening Programme: From 2006, APMAS entered into capacitating the Urban Self Help Groups and federations. APMAS is presently providing its urban services in eight municipal towns of Andhra Pradesh. They are: LB Nagar, Uppal and Charminar areas of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), and municipal towns of Guntakal, Gudivada, Kadapa, Bhimavaram and Ramgunadam. In these eight urban areas, APMAS supported about 12,050 SHGs, 511 slum level federations and 11 town level federations. Also, to improve the living standards of the slum dwellers an ambitious ‘Water and Sanitation’ pilot program was taken up in three towns; L.B.Nagar, Guntakal and Gudivada. Five water purification plants established under the management of Slum Level Federations to supply pure water to the slum dwellers at nominal price and nine more water purification plants are in the offing. Further, APMAS has been facilitating Community Water Quality Monitors to ensure the quality water delivery. New individual lavatories numbering 1963 were constructed.
Livelihood Promotion: APMAS initiated Livelihood Promotion activities and plays a catalytic role in promoting rural livelihoods. APMAS has been facilitating model SHG federations to integrate livelihood promotion in taking forward microfinance and livelihood promotion together. APMAS anchored District Livelihood Resource Centers (DLRCs) in Adilabad and YSR districts of Andhra Pradesh and made them as model institutions for effective delivery of capacity building services. And from 2010 onwards, APMAS is engaged in direct field implementation by taking up mega watersheds (Under IWMP) two each in Adilabad, Anantapur and Chittoor districts of Andhra Pradesh, focusing on drought-proofing initiatives, tree-based farming systems and rain-fed agriculture.
Research and Advocacy: As a resource organization, APMAS keeps track of the ground realities to provide a wealth of resources to different stakeholders in the SHG sector. The Research and Advocacy unit is divided into three components: Research, Advocacy and Communications. Action and applied research studies are being conducted by the unit on various issues as they emerge and findings from the studies are then used to design capacity building strategies for SHGs, promoting institutions, disseminated through various workshops (advocacy), and made available to the public through APMAS websites and publications. APMAS brings out a monthly news letter in Telugu – Mahila Sadhikaratha (means women empowerment). In the past 10 years, APMAS has conducted more than 50 research studies and brought out a number of study reports and published research based articles in various publications, including Journals.
Networking for Partnerships and Collaborations: APMAS is anchoring a “National Network for enabling Self-Help Movement in India” (ENABLE) with Chaitanya, Centre for Microfinance, Reach India, SHG Promotional Forum, Sampark and Indian School of Microfinance for Women as its members. The major work of the network includes providing support to missions and expert committees; conducting studies on the performance of SHGs ; organizing SHG and policy workshops; development, translation and adaptation of resource materials available with the network member organizations into different languages and specific training and exposure for bankers.
Expansion Programme: Given the pioneering expertise and experience of APMAS in SHG sector, its services are in huge demand in under-served states. In response to these demands, APMAS started providing its services to SHPIs directly in few states and through the members of ENABLE network in some other states. They are: Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, and Madhya Pradesh. While In some of these states APMAS has been directly promoting SHGs and SHG federations as models, in other states it has been building the capacities of SHPIs. Further in a smaller scale, it has been providing technical and capacity building services to the SHGs and Federations in Jharkhand & Ajeevika of Uttarakhand. In its pursuit of realizing its vision of ‘A Sustainable Self-Help Movement in India’ , APMAS intends to further expand its services to more and more unreached areas and to service more and more underserved people. As such it proposes to work in the North Eastern States and to support development work in Delhi slums. To facilitate easy access to these areas, and to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of APMAS work in various states of India, there is a proposal to establish APMAS branch office in Delhi and registering APMAS as a local organization in various other states, under the appropriate legal forms.
Working Association with Other Organizations: APMAS is a member of the National Alliance for Financial Literacy (NAFiL) engaged in campaigning on financial literacy and other international forums that focus on community based microfinance. APMAS has a formal partnership with Coady International Institute to offer certificate courses in community-based microfinance and to undertake research on issues of mutual interest. APMAS has widely contributed to the work of CGAP on community based microfinance and to the India Microfinance Report.
APMAS is instrumental in promoting a National Alliance for Self-Reliant Cooperatives (NASRC) to ensure the passage and utilization of Acts similar to the AP Mutually Aided Cooperative Society (AP MACS) Act in all the States of India. APMAS, in association with PRIA and VANI, is strongly advocating the role of NGOs in various government programs and also engaged in building the capacities of the NGOs for organizing themselves properly.
Section 25 Company: A Section 25 Company, promoted by APMAS called “Sadhikaratha Foundation” has been incorporated. This heralds a new initiative of APMAS to undertake those projects and activities within the vision of APMAS and enabling the expansion of its horizon to meet the requirements arising out of the current development paradigm.