a group is formed, there is a one-week training period called
Continuous Group Training (CGT). CGT consists of 7 daily
hour-long sessions (typically conducted in the evening),
during which members learn the goals and procedures of the
loan program. One of the days is marked for a detailed
quantitative evaluation (means test) of group members so that
there is base-line data for each member.
CGT is the first formal interaction between staff and groups,
and it is the place where strict credit discipline is
inculcated. Strict credit discipline is essential for credit
programs to be sustainable.
credit discipline involves
staff having a clear idea of their responsibilities and
carrying them out accordingly.
regularly and punctually attending weekly Center meetings
and participating in other Sangam activities. Any absence
has to have prior approval from the Sangam leader. Staff
also attends punctually.
meetings are conducted in a prescribed and business-like
manner, with members sitting in their respective places
and group leaders and Sangam leaders carrying out their
amounts are carefully determined according to loan
activities and ability to repay.
disbursement is timely and honest.
used for approved activities, as shown by careful loan
utilization checks by both Sangam officials and staff.
of principal and interest is in full and on time.
income is used for the improvement of the level of living
of the family as a whole.
of all these elements of strict credit discipline is not easy.
Strict credit discipline does not exist naturally; it must be
created and maintained. Borrowers, at least initially, don’t
like to be disciplined so strictly. They will continually
“test the limits” of indiscipline. Creating strict
discipline begins with targeting the poorest during group
formation and with CGT.
The role of
role of Continuous Group Training is to create a culture of
credit discipline and to ensure that all Members have a
minimum understanding of the credit program. Firstly,
the objective and all the rules and regulations of the credit
program needs to be explained and understood. Secondly,
all the rights and obligations of Members need to be
understood and accepted. This leads to a clear
understanding of the transparency (including the need there
of) and accountability (inter and intra group). These
require formal, short training sessions over a minimum of 7