A different kind of success
Women’s groups in Scotland are showing us the way to a new kind of economy, says Hannah Brown
In Scotland, a movement is starting. Small groups of five to ten women are coming together to pool their financial resources. Putting in as little as £1, they are acting together in aspiration for a better life – for themselves, their families and their communities.
Modelled on self-reliant groups (SRGs), a movement begun in India, these groups have been pioneered in Scotland by a charity called WEvolution. Their aim is for SRGs to ‘develop strong bonds of trust and friendship, save small amounts of money together, learn skills and support each other to create income-generating opportunities for themselves’. In time, SRGs endeavour to scale to a level where they can provide secure incomes for those involved and offer support in difficult times by becoming informal community networks. They explore the potential of upcycling, reusing and repurposing, helping to bring new life into things that would otherwise be disregarded.
For many Christians, the idea of a woman with only a few coins to offer but a deep belief in what she can achieve is not a new one. We are reminded of Jesus watching a woman in the temple offer the little she has, and his recognition of the riches to be found in people and places beyond those to which we might choose to look.
WEvolution’s groups are pioneering a different way to interact with the economy. They change how ownership works, in favour of those who might otherwise be left out. They use assets beyond money, recognising the value of home-grown skills, strong communities and independence. In these groups, values and success are found, not only in enabling the financial independence of those involved but in their flourishing, in the growth of community, in increased resilience and wellbeing, and in the contribution of all members….
Hannah Brown is Campaigns and Church Engagement Officer for the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT). Click here for more about JPIT’s conference, ‘Renewal and Rebellion: Faith, economy and climate’. JPIT’s Six Hopes for Society are published online, here. For more information on the SRG movement, visit srgmovement.com or click here to email Eleri
This is an extract from an article that was published in the March 2020 edition of Reform