Annex A: Lesson modules
The following lesson modules were developed on the basis of the FAO publication "The Group Promotor's Resource Book" and adapted to the local situation in the Bhusunde Khola watershed by the project consultant.
A. 1. LESSON - 1
Features of a Successful Participatory Users group
1. The user group members should have common interest, desire, goals and objectives.
2. Members should be honest, dedicated and hard working to achieve their objectives.
3. The user group should organize regular meetings and every member should participate in the meetings.
4. The user group should have its constitution and members should write the constitution and must be flexible to achieve objectives.
5. The members should constitute an executive body. The executive body must consist of very able chairperson, secretary and treasurer.
6. The members should regularly discuss their activities and decide to act upon fund raising and record keeping and share benefits among beneficiaries.
7. The user group should clarify its goals and objectives and this must be written in black and white. The goals can only be met if objectives are achieved e.g. the objectives are the stepping of the house and the goal is the room where we aim to reach.
8. The objectives should be clear, simple, observable and quantifiable.
9. The objectives should be realistic otherwise it will be limited to paper only.
10. The user group must be democratic and all members must be allowed to discuss, opine, comment and present logic. All members should have like mindedness.
11. There should not be any discrimination on castes, big and small, rich and poor literate and illiterate. The members should always try to learn and teach each other.
which will ultimately lead to attainment of objectives.
A.2. LESSON - 2
Basic Principles in Group Formation:
1. An ideal group should have at least 8-10 member and maximum up to 15-20 members because small groups will have the chance to speak and to contribute their energy and ideas to take the right decision. If the group is big there will be little chance to express ideas and arguments and the elite member will have better chance to dominate others. There will be time constraints for open discussion if the group is big.
2. There should be social equality in groups. If not, there will not be openness. Cooperation and mutual trust.
3. Every group should have income generating goals. There will be a spirit of independence and self-reliance if income is generated.
4. Membership should be voluntary and democratic. The member should decide who can lead them as a chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary and treasurer. The outsiders should not interfere in the election or nomination process. Decision should be taken by consensus or by majority vote. The decisions should be written in the minute book. The minutes should be written either by the secretary or by the joint secretary. The accounts on saving and other incomes and expenditure should he maintained by the treasurer or the joint treasurer.
5. The secretary and treasurer are responsible to maintain office administration and accounting management respectively. They should inform group members in the meeting by reading loudly the statements of administration and accounts.
A.3. LESSON - 3
How to establish a group?
1. After formation of a group the name of the group should be chosen to match with its local values (social/cultural/religious).
2. After establishing a group, the dates and place of next meeting should be fixed as far as possible.
3. The agenda for discussion should be selected prior to discussion in a group meeting.
What is needed for a group?
4. The group should have a dedicated leadership with other committed members in the management.
5. The group should have compulsory savings. The savings develop the feeling of ownership which leads to community spirit.
6. The group should have its own constitution with its own objectives. A constitution is a written agreement among group members which helps to avoid internal conflicts, differences and obstacles. The constitution makes the responsibilities of each member
7. The group should maintain accounts, decisions and activity lists in record. Records help the group remembers what has been decided and what expenditures were incurred in the past. Record helps in monitoring and evaluation.
A.4. LESSON - 4
A constitution is a written agreement which provides guidelines for members to become active, disciplined and effective. The rules and regulations are meant for the betterment of the group but must always be flexible. The set of rules is called constitution.
How to make a group constitution
A constitution is developed by the group with the advice and counsel of its members. It should be made step by step, if members can't make it at one time.
Members are guided by the rules of constitution
The members should follow the rules of constitution. The group should not copy the constitution of other organizations. The members can't express their needs and can't voice their choice if it is copied from others. The constitution must be developed in accordance with their choice and demand.
Constitution can be changed and amended
The constitution is a set of rules that are necessary to guide and discipline members. It is a package of rules to set out what is expected from them and what they can except from the group. If the constitution creates conflicts, the members can ease it by amending or changing the rules of the constitution.
What is written in a constitution
The constitution provisions rules and responsibilities of all members. It should also mention financial rules. The constitution points out rules to minimize conflicts and issues that may arise in the separation of a group. The members can add or change items. if needed, to improve efficiency of the constitution.
A.5. LESSON - 5
What is leadership?
Leadership is that quality of a person that can influence the attitude and action of one or more persons, leading towards achievement of some purpose or goal. This happens through various ways. For example: imparting knowledge, giving advice or suggestion. expressing a belief or opinion, making decision on behalf of groups providing assistance exercising power. lending approval or support.
Leadership involves overseeing and monitoring the group's activities. These tasks are carried out by a few people who are recognized and accepted by all members.
How to find local leadership?
Some people are natural leaders. Others have skills that remain hidden because they never had the opportunity to display or develop them, but these skills can be enhanced through training. Local leadership usually has the following qualities:
a. Active, energetic and good at motivating others.
c. Brave, honest and patient.
d. Able to work with others.
e. Able to communicate with others.
f. Able to keep group secrets.
The above qualities will help a group to run smoothly, to grow strong and to achieve its goals.
What is participatory leadership?
Participatory leadership does not believe in dictatorship. Participatory leadership allows every member to have equal opportunity to grow and become leaders. Participatory leaders encourage all members to be fully involved in group affairs by keeping them informed, by delegating tasks and having open discussions.
Types of leadership
1. Organizational leadership: this refers to the official positions in organization, the duties of the chairperson, secretary. treasurer. Leadership can be made more effective by providing appropriate training.
2. Subject leadership: this leadership is a person's particular skills and knowledge that he or she has to offer to the community (example, a singer or musician who leads the whole orchestra team and chorus singers).
3. Action leadership: this refers to the implementation of a given activity, project or group action, for getting some specific goal accomplished (example, the blacksmith/cobblers have specific action leadership to work as masons etc.).
4. Opinion leadership this refers to the judgement that one exercises about given subjects. Sometimes the assistants obey the opinion of their boss, because his opinion is always unquestionable.
5. Legitimation leadership: this refers to the approval given by relevant power structure in relation to given specific proposals (.e.g. leader of marwadi, leaders of blacksmith, Tharu etc.).
6. Initiating leadership: the beginning of ideas, some people in the community may come up with proposal for new programs, policies or solution to particular problems. The idea could be fruitful or negative.
7. Decision leadership: decision making is self-explanatory. Decision making is crucial process some one has to make. The decision leadership seeks to get support from group members for initiating activities.
8. Advisory/counsellor leadership: advisory leadership is the assistance provided for the group to suggest and advice. This is an indirect leadership. Some groups nominate such leadership to have certain knowledge interest.
A.6. LESSON - 6
Leadership must be ready to deal with the following individuals
Leader have to satisfy individual needs irrelevant to the purpose and goals of the group, and they have to deal with the following individuals in the communities.
1. Aggressor: the aggressor is that type of person of the community who always expresses disapproval of values, acts and feelings of others if his ideas are not accepted by the group.
2. Blocker: the blocker usually disagrees with every proposal of the group. Blockers also have a negative attitude towards development.
3. Recognition seeker: the recognition seeker is that person who always tries to call attention to himself. He always expresses about his past experience and bravery hut pays no attention to the group needs.
4. Self-confessors: self-confessors are those who express their personal feelings and do not pay attention of others feeling.
5. Play boy: the play boys make display of their lack of involvement in the group decision. They pose that they have nothing to do with group dynamics and group proposals.
6. Dominator: the dominators always try to disturb the group dynamics and put pressure on groups to do according to their opinion. They try to assert authority.
7. Special interest pleader: the special interest pleader tries to gain popularity by putting proposals of some interest groups. He tries to clock his prejudices in pleas for special groups.
A.7. LESSON - 7
What is a record keeping systems
Record keeping is the maintenance of information concerning the group, for future reference, such as: information about the group organization in minutes, activities, income and expenditure. Records include minute book. cash receipt, cash book and debit/credit book etc.
What are the advantages of record keeping
It is difficult to remember what happened before and what activities are planned for the future if records are not maintained. Records provide information and data to monitor progress and help to check expenditure and incomes. The records provide information on what decisions were made before and what was planned accordingly. The cash receipts help in maintaining incomes from different sources. The cash book helps in understanding the income and expenditure of cash items.
What can be seen in a record:
Records are like a mirror which provides all information about group activities. It shows us all decision, activities implemented and expenditure made so far.
Who is responsible for record keeping
Records are kept by secretary and treasurer for administrative and financial works respectively. The joint secretary keeps administrative records in the absence of the treasurer.
The secretary keeps record of decisions of the minutes, receipts, and despatch of administrative works, whereas the treasurer maintains income and expenditure records and keeps balance money in either bank or office.
Who reviews the records
The management committee should review records frequently. The chairperson should make announcement of each activities, expenditure, income and also objectives achieved so far by the user group.
A.8 LESSON - 8
The roles and responsibilities of a management committee
Roles and responsibilities of a chairperson
1. To chair meetings.
2. To review sessions on specific issues
3. To run meetings and create a disciplined and democratic atmosphere in the session.
4. To encourage participatory discussion and decision making and work.
5. To organize meeting as per constitution and review activities.
6. To asses the roles and responsibilities of management committee members and provide feedback.
7. To review the progress on achievement towards objectives and check accounts.
8. To delegate responsibilities to management committee members.
9. To help the management committee to plan activities and implement them.
10. To maintain harmony, co-ordination and co-operation in the group.
11. To represent the group in meeting, seminar, tour and workshop.
Roles and responsibilities of a Vice-chairperson
1. To chair meetings in the absence of the chairperson.
2. To advice the chairperson and assist in executing works.
3. To work as per the advice and guidelines of the chairperson.
Roles and responsibilities of a Secretary
1. To write the agenda and minutes.
2. To keep a record of attendance at meetings and get signatures of attendants.
3. To maintain all group records.
4. To read aloud the minutes of meetings.
5. To deal with letters to and from the groups.
6. To inform group members about the ongoing and future plan through the chairperson.
Roles and responsibilities of a Joint Secretary
1. To write agenda and minutes in the absence of the secretary.
2. To keep records of attendance in the absence of the secretary.
3. To work as secretary in his absence.
4. To set up rules as directed by the management committee.
Roles and responsibilities of a Treasurer
1. To keep financial records of the group.
2. To safeguard and manage the money, maintain accounts and make expenditures in accordance with the decisions of the management committee.
3. To maintain cash book and receipt of purchases, sales and received money.
4. To take care of the money kept by the group and outside agencies in the presence of members.
5. To manage the use of group funds.
6. To act as per the decision of the management committee.
Roles and responsibilities of a Joint Treasurer
1. To represent as treasurer in his absence.
2. To act as per the management committee decisions.
Roles and responsibilities of other Management Committee Members
1. To attend meetings regularly.
2. To advice the management committee and give opinion and provide comments.
3. To elect executive members according to the constitution.
4. To deposit funds on time.
5. To follow the decisions of the management committee.
6. To inform other beneficiaries about the decisions of the group.
A.9. LESSON - 9
Income generating activities
No group can become self-reliant, independent and self-confident without increased income and savings. Self-help groups are best organized around income generating activities. Before choosing a group activity, members should discuss in depth and work out together what they expect from income generating activities.
As with a successful and sustainable group, successful income generation requires a numbers of key building blocks. The following buildings blocks should be noted by the groups members and they should carry out analyses before starting income generating activity:
Whether the chosen activity is feasible or not: it is crucial to analyze that the activity chosen by the group is feasible or not. The group activity must be able to produce a product that people want to buy. The market place of the buyers and the quality of product cost are to be assessed.
The product is profitable or not: the activity must produce more income than it costs. The costs include labour, transportation and skilled inputs involved in the production. If the costs involve more than the income it does not earn profit. The profit must be more than the costs.
The activity should be well-planned: the group must work out with the members whether the activity should be well-planned or not. The market depth should be assessed before doing any income generating activity. It should be well thought out how to expand market.
Marketing: the group should know the market and marketability of products. The group must strive to satisfy its customers. The group should identify the status of customers and their preference on quality. The group must discuss on customers and market.
Savings: savings provide the resources to start and expand the group activities. Without saving, there is a danger that may create dependency instead of self-reliance. The group's own resources should always be the primary source of funds.
It will be difficult to start an activity without a loan or subsidies. Without any
knowledge about bank rules it will be futile to work out loan procedures. A loan is not a
gift. Group loans are usually granted with group ability and largely depends on group
performances. The group must make sure that they should repay loans on time otherwise
it may invite risks.
A.10. LESSON - 10
Promoting Inter-group Association
An inter-group federation represents its constituent groups as a main committee. It works as a mother organization on a cluster of groups. If there are different activities in a community it needs management skills and resource persons to accomplish these activities. The inter-group association works as a link up association to provide loans, market the products and liaison with other organization.
Group registration can be time consuming process, going back and forth to register. renew group certificates, accomplish auditing works, and so on. Group registration is not always necessary for all, especially small groups. In such cases an inter-group association can represent all small groups.
The group should decide on their requirement whether the group must be registered itself or as a part of an inter-group association. If the group has management capability and necessary skills and sufficient time and can work independently, it can register. (Group discussion)
A.11. LESSON - 11
Participatory and Evaluation
The management committee should monitor the group activities by enhancing group s capabilities. Since participation is a basic principle of our approach, al the members have to take part in the participatory process.
What is monitoring
Monitoring is done in different ways. To monitor is to check whether the decisions or activities that are planned have been accomplished exactly or not. Examples:
- How and when are the decisions of the group implemented?
- How was the attendance of group members in a meeting?
- Have the group members raised and deposited funds or not?
What is Evaluation
Evaluation is to measure, observe and qualify the results of the activities to achieve group's set objectives. Evaluation measures the results. Examples
- Has the goat raising activity benefitted the groups.
- Has the group income increased by orange plantation or not.
- Has the fodder supply been increased by fodder plantation.
- Have the vegetable gardening works increased income of the group.
What are the advantages of monitoring and evaluation
- M/E provides guidelines to the group in achieving its objectives.
- M/E helps in improving group performances.
- M/E helps the group in better planning, implementation and allowing popular participation of group members.
- M/E helps in achieving good results.
- M/E helps in capacity building to make the group self-reliant.
A. 12. LESSON - 12
1. Ask the participants about their daily activities from early morning to late night. Tell them to write in notebook.
2. Ask the participants to tell about their daily activities.
3. Ask the participants to write down and speak about the following:
a. Most preferred work,
b. Most undesired work.
c. Most delicious food.
d. Cheapest articles of markets.
e. Most expensive article in the market.
f. Most preferred enterprise/trade.
4. The trainers should note the above preferences and non-preferences for reporting.
5. The facilitator should close down the training session by giving thanks to everybody, convey best regards to all participants for their bright future, specially in group self-reliance.