The Rojiroti approach to microfinance involves creation of women’s self-help groups (SHGs), rotated loans from savings, and subsequent credit from CPSL, a Bihar-based NGO. Rojiroti serves customers who are significantly poorer and more marginalized than those typically served by microfinance (MF) in India. In the data analysed, more than 90 per cent of members are from scheduled caste and tribes (62 per cent) or other disadvantaged castes. This paper analyses the impact of Rojiroti MF using panel data on 740 new SHG members and 340 women in matched control sites at baseline and after 18 months. We consider changes in assets, children’s education, empowerment, and domestic violence among other indicators. These results show significant gains for Rojiroti borrowers relative to control sites for important, but not all, variables. Comparison with more long-standing SHGs (at least 36 months) helps to explain how the borrowing patterns of poor and marginalized SHG members evolves.
Succeeded where others have failed? Has Rojiroti’s model of microfinance led to a reduction in domestic violence?
Rojiroti is a small organization delivering microfinance to the poorest women in Bihar. This article explores Rojiroti’s panel data which shows a decline in domestic violence among its members, acknowledging that this result contradicts much of the existing literature on this topic. Detailed analysis of relevant literature and extensive fieldwork involving qualitative interviews with 16 Rojiroti Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in July 2015 inform the outcomes of this inquiry. While evidence from other microfinance organizations is less positive, there are indications that the specific approach to microfinance initiatives by Rojiroti in this context is successful in reducing rates of domestic violence.