A brief organization profile


Indian School of Microfinance for Women
(ISMW), Ahmedabad

A brief organization profile

Indian School of Microfinance for Women (the School) based at Ahmedabad (Gujarat) was promoted in the year 2003 by Sewa Bank, Friends of Women World Banking (FWWB) India and Coady International Institute Canada. ISMW is registered under Bombay Public Trust Act 1950. Smt. Ela R. Bhatt, Founder Sewa is the Founder Chairperson of the School. Mrs. Shyamala Gopinath, Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India is the current Chairperson and Ms. Jayshree Vyas – MD, Sewa Bank is the Managing Trustee of the School. The Board of Directors also includes, Ms. Vijayalakshmi Das, Managing Director, Ananya Finance for Inclusive Growth, Ms. Dharmishta N. Raval, Advocate, and Ms. Susan Thomas, AssistantProfessor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, Ms. Mary Coyle,
Former University Vice President, Coady International Institute, Canada, Ms. Nancy Barry, NBA Enterprise Solutions to Poverty, New York.

Vision of the School:
Vision of the school is to build a nationwide knowledge and infrastructure to empower the poor.  The School strongly believes that a holistic approach to balance the economic and relevant social issues will lead to financial freedom of the poor and deprived section of the society especially women and also to financial stability of the organization serving them.
Objectives of the School include:

  1. To significantly enhance the capacity of women and their families
  2. Build a conducive environment for strengthening and spreading microfinance to understand financial capability through policy advocacy and action research
  3. Promoting financial literacy progressively linked to sustainable financial inclusion of the poor for better and secures future especially through effective utilization of financial services offered under Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana, Prime Minister Suraksha Bime Yojana, Prime Minister Jeevan Jyoti Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana and micro investments schemes.
  4. Establishing linkages with formal financial institutions and collaborations with other stake holders for sustainable financial inclusion
  5. Be known as an educational innovator through quality education and research

Indian School of Microfinance for Women (the School) is endowed with highly resourceful Board comprising persons of national and international repute being the path breakers and innovators in social mobilization and building institutions for the poor specially women. They are also torchbearers in the field of both wholesale and retail microfinance directly to the individuals or through the intermediaries such as SHG/federation. The School draws heavily upon SEWA Bank being one of the its promoter which has more than 30 years of working in providing saving, credit, insurance and pension services. The genesis of financial literacy lies in experiments and experience of SEWA Bank which travelled to Indian School of Microfinance for women for replication and up scaling countrywide with suitable customization and value addition with a special reference to financial inclusion.


Financial literacy initiatives of the School has been progressively linked and oriented to national agenda of financial inclusion by stimulating/empowering the demand side and sensitizing the supply side to create a win-win situation i.e. inclusive development of the poor and viability of banking/microfinance for the poor.

The School has taken numerous initiatives like establishment of dedicated unit viz. Center for financial literacy for spread of financial literacy countrywide, launching of National Financial Literacy Drive and organizing financial literacy day to bring all the take holders such as RBI, NABARD, IBA/Banks, RRBs, IRDA, PFRDA, Government agencies, NGOs/SHPIs/SHG leaders , MFIs on a common platform to seek synergy and convergence in their effort for effective spread of financial literacy for sustainable financial inclusion too. The School has also promoted a network viz. National Alliance for Financial Literacy (NAFiL) comprising membership of 49 MFIs /NGOs operating in 24 states of the country. The School has successfully partnered with NABARD, SIDBI-ADB, UNDP, UN Women, GIZ, Government agencies, Banks, RRBs, Co operatives, SLRMs, MFI, SIRD, NGOs/SHPIs/SHGs on financial literacy and financial inclusion and many capacity building programs on social and gender empowerment.

Value Proposition:-
Value proposition of the School in nutshell in India highlights strong and experience board, competent management team, dedicated team with multi discipline qualification, expertise and experience; strong network and rapport  among the important stakeholder across the country, time tested training modules, materials, tools, techniques, in house capacity for content creation, exposure to different geographical best practices and financial literacy for the financial inclusion, gender empowerment, micro enterprise management and other capacity building and endeavors particularly for promotion of livelihood activities.

Milestones of Achievements:-

  1. Selected by The Reserve Bank of India as one of the entities for grant of Financial Assistance from the Depositors Education and Awareness (DEA) Fund
  2. ISMW has also successfully completed Mass Awareness campaign to promote Financial Literacy in Gujarat supported by BSE-IPF
  3. Empanelled by NLRM a Capacity Building organization and commended to SLRM for collaborations and partnership
  4. Selected as National Training institution for women micro entrepreneurship development project of SIDBI – ADB
  5. Accredited by Indian Institute for Banking and Finance for training to BC/BF for Financial Inclusion
  6. Report on our National research study on financial behavior of poor appreciated by the Governor of Reserve Bank of India
  7. RBI acknowledged our contribution in development of educational material on financial literacy since uploaded on RBI website
  8. Formulation of National Alliance on financial literacy by NABARD with Indian School of Microfinance for Women as recorded in coffee table published by NABARD on its 30 years of taking rural India
  9. Selected as resource agency for implementation of DIFID supported PISG program of SIDBI for conducting pilot on training of trainers on financial literacy and gender empowerment
  10. UNDP – UNDP IKEA women empowerment project: grand success of UNDP pilot project on financial literacy and financial inclusion which was replicated as Mirzapur model in two districts each of Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand under NABARD UNDP collaboration and subsequently up scaled under UNDP IKEA women empowerment project (Swaayam  in 3 eastern districts of UP)
  11. Vidarbha model of training on financial literacy to members of SHGs, Farmers club to act as BC/BF of Vidarbha Gramin Bank, Maharashtra which was by NABARD Central Office, Mumbai for all Regional Rural Banks to replicate all over India
  12. Successful commissioned UN Women for study on successful SHG initiative in India which included cases from Kudumbashree – Kerala, SERP – Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and MP, Nidan – Bihar and Shree Mahila Samip – West Bengal
  13. GIZ-NABARD assignment for developing modules and conducting training of SHG member Bank Sakhi as CSP under BC model in collaboration with Gramin Bank of Aaryavart and Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana
  14. Collaboration with BSE-IPF for organizing Mass Awareness Campaign to promote Financial Literacy in Gujarat
  15. Union Bank of India supported Mass financial Literacy campaign in their lead districts of U.P.
  16. BSR-HERfinance (US) assignment to develop research note on financial services with the factory workers in India (Gurgaon and Bangalore)
  17. Awarded assignment by Gujarat Livelihood Promotion Company (GLPC) to develop module and material on financial literacy
  18. Commissioned by ICICI Foundation for financial literacy to SHG and Youth in Baran district of Rajasthan and for formation, nurturing and strengthening of SHGs for sustainable livelihood in Udaipur district of Rajasthan.
  19. School resource persons nominated by NABARD and trained by IIBF as State Level Trainers for providing training to BC/BF through District Level Trainers. The School is also an accredited institution of IIBF for BC/BF training
  20. Awarded project by Government of West Bengal to enhance credit absorption capacity of SHGs through financial literacy

Training programs, projects and population outreach:Training programs on financial literacy includes 191 trainers training programs, 185 mass awareness campaigns including those in RBI model villages, 86 concept sharing workshop, 553 household training programs and other aggregating to 1292 direct programs for 79125 participants. Added with derived programs of the NAFiL partners and enlarged outreach through media/cable/T.V etc. total population outreach exceeds 3 million our 23 states of the country.