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Early in 2017, the Nav Bihar Samaj Kalyan Pratishthan Kendra (NBSKPK), Nalanda district, Bihar took the decision to organise the women’s collectives set up through interventions in its area of operations into a co-operative. As a registered cooperative the women’s collectives could access a variety of entitlements and take benefit of a number of schemes and policies designed for cooperatives. The NBSKPK also set up the Mahila Adhikar Morcha (MAM), which has emerged as a 5000-member strong district-level platform for women’s empowerment and building women’s leadership. Through efforts of MAM, the women’s collectives were registered under The Bihar Self- Supporting Cooperative Societies Act, 1996. The registration process took over a year of interaction with the Cooperative Department, Government of Bihar involving evaluation of all the women’s collectives and their activities and regular follow up with the authorities.
On 16 July 2018 the Nav Bihar Bauhuudeshiya Mahila Vikas Swavlambi Sahkari Samiti (NBBMVSSS) Ltd. secured its registration. The title roughly translates in English as: new Bihar multi-purpose women’s development self-help cooperative society. The women’s collectives are made up women belonging to Dalit communities, Other Backward Classes and Economically Backward Classes. The collectives are involved in agriculture and allied activities.
In the coming years colleagues in ActionAid India’s Bihar and Jharkhand Regional Office will work with MAM, NBSKPK and the NBBMVSSS to build capacity of the cooperative members and explore economic activities that could provide viable and sustainable livelihood opportunities in the area.