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The Group Enterprise Book

A practical guide for group promoters to assist groups in setting up and running successful small enterprises








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    Book (stand-alone)
    The inter-group resource book
    A guide to building small farmer group associations and networks
    2001
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    Small farmer groups can increase their economies-of-scale and bargaining power by joining with other groups engaged in similar activities. These inter-group associations are important fora where small farmers can acquire new skills in the management of larger organizations. They can also serve as useful development vehicles, not only helping farmers solve their own problems but making it easier for governments to assist them in their efforts. This resource book shows how, using a participatory approach, inter-group associations can be established and run by groups in rural areas. It is intended for use by Group Promoters (GPs) or Inter-Group Promoters (IGPs), extension workers and other rural development staff to help existing groups set up and run such inter-group enterprises. Formation of groups themselves is covered in The group promoter’s resource book, while development of group enterprises is described in The group enterprise resource book – both also available from FAO.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Microfinance and forest-based small-scale enterprises 2005
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    Communities around the world rely on forests for their livelihoods, not only for domestic uses but also for income, frequently obtained through small-scale, often family-run enterprises. The sustainable development of such enterprises is increasingly recognized as a key to poverty reduction but is often hindered by lack of financial inputs or poor access to microfinance services. This publication reviews the specific microfinance needs of small-scale enterprises given the often seasonal and unpr edictable nature of forest-based activities. It analyses the constraints they face when trying to obtain microfinance services – including a lack of familiarity with formal financial institutions and insufficient capital or collateral for access to traditional banking services – and identifies ways to overcome these challenges. The publication examines the role that different types of microfinance institutions, such as banks, non-governmental organizations, cooperatives and credit unions, can pl ay for small-scale enterprises and forest communities. It discusses, in addition to microcredit, a comprehensive range of services including savings, group lending, leasing, insurance and cash transfers. The strengths and weaknesses of different approaches are illustrated through four case studies in Nepal, Guatemala, the Sudan and Peru. This book will be a useful reference for those involved in designing policies and projects for the development of forest communities, as well as for those provi ding financial services to small enterprises in rural areas.
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    Book (series)
    Livelihood and micro-enterprise development opportunities for women in coastal fishing communities in India – Case studies of Orissa and Maharashtra. 2007
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    The studies on livelihood and micro-enterprise development opportunities for women in coastal fishing communities in India are a follow-up to the national workshop on best practices in microfinance programmes for women in coastal fishing communities in India, held in Panaji, Goa, India, from 1 to 4 July 2003. The proceedings and outcomes of the workshop are reported in FAO Fisheries Report No. 724. The studies found that poverty has remained a serious problem in fishing communities in Orissa and Maharashtra, made even more severe by the widespread absence of rural infrastructure and services such as safe drinking water, electricity, waste and sewage disposal facilities, health care and educational services and facilities, all-weather link roads as well as a lack of adequate housing facilities. Over the last two decades, fishing effort and the cost of fishing have considerably increased. Over the same period, a diversification of livelihoods of fisherfolk households has taken place, and many household members, particularly women, are now working part-time as unskilled agricultural labourers or construction workers. In recent years, through the efforts of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the marine wing of the Fisheries Department of Orissa and the initiative of other government departments, many women self-help groups (SHGs) and cooperatives have been formed and training has been provided to their members in the field of fish processing an d marketing. Only a minority of the SHGs and cooperatives in Maharashtra and Orissa though, which have been formed in fishing communities, have so far been linked to financial institutions and there is a severe lack of rural fish storage and processing infrastructure and facilities. The findings of the studies suggest that through actively promoting self-help groups and cooperatives among women in coastal fishing communities and through linking these associations with financial insti tutions, investment and working capital needs of their members can be met. To make the best use of capital inputs, SHGs and their federations need vocational and enterprise development training from NGOs and from fisheries training and research institutions as well as assistance for establishing links to new market outlets for their products, both domestically and for export. The state-level workshops in Orissa and Maharashtra made specific recommendations as to what kind of assistance i s needed so that poverty in coastal fishing communities can be reduced and livelihoods improved and diversified through micro-enterprise development and microfinance and training support.

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