Rural women bank agents, part of a GIZ-NABARD initiative, nominated for internationally acclaimed WSIS Project Prize 2015

Your vote counts in empowering rural women bank agents in Madhya Pradesh!

The Rural Financial Institutions Programme, a joint collaboration between National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), India’s apex development bank and GIZ, has successfully pilot-tested an innovative approach: Employing SHG (Self Help Group) members as Bank Agents to serve as Customer Service Points (CSPs). This initiative has brought financial services within easy reach of people in areas where financial inclusion penetration is still low.

These Bank Sakhis (friends) offer a range of financial services through Point-of-Sales (POS) machines and kiosk model (laptop) to their communities, and receive support (training, handholding, monitoring) from the local federation or a support agency. So far, about 70 Bank Sakhis have been appointed, covering 20,000 clients across 307 villages. The total transactions facilitated by the Bank Sakhis exceeded Rs. 2.5 crore (more than 350,000 EUR) by February 2015.

This approach has not only promoted financial inclusion in backward areas, but has also enabled women’s empowerment and contributed to more transparency of SHG transactions by allowing bank agents to process them in real time.

The project in Madhya Pradesh (in collaboration with Narmada Jhabua Gramin Bank, Network for Information & Computer Technology, Priya Sakhi Mahila Sangh and Aparajita Mahila Sangh) has been nominated for the WSIS Project Prize 2015 which is hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU – the United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies). The annual award is given to different initiatives and projects across the world, and GIZ’s project has been nominated in Category 11: ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life - E-employment under the nameSwavlamban”, focussing on promoting employment to women with the help of technology.

A voting process for all 18 categories has begun, and the project with the most votes in each category will win the award. To make the women of Madhya Pradesh win this internationally recognised prize( Category 11), your vote counts!  Please help in bringing this award to the Bank Sakhis of Indore and Dewas District. Register and vote here:

The whole process will take not more than 20 minutes and will also give you the opportunity to learn about interesting initiatives from around the globe. The voting process is open till 1st May, 2015 and awards will be presented by the end of May. You need to vote for all 18 categories in order to make your vote count.

To know more about this approach, download the brochure at the bottom of the page.