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Episode 240 - Dr. Medha Samant: Women's Empowerment Through "Credit-Plus" Microfinance in India

Monday, May 21, 2018, 7:53:52 AM

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In this episode, our guest Dr. Medha Samant discusses the history and implementation of Annapurna Pariwar, a group of five developmental organizations working in India since 1993. Its goal and mission is to empower poor women and their families related to their finances, education, and health. Dr. Samant describes how she optimizes social workers' skill sets in service to the mission and how she overcame institutional resistance to microfinance efforts to empower the poor.

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Average Rating: 5stars  social resilience of microfinance model, Wednesday, October 07, 2020

By Barbara Deitz :

I had no idea of the extent of the impact of microfinancing,. I had heard of the practice, and donated once to Kiva, as I recall, and perhaps even heard of the controversy in the field that Dr. Samant describes. But that millions of people could be impacted so positively is exceptional.

I understood the movement as an example of mutual aid. The growth of the movement, from small loans, to insurance, to education about the financing process, is organic in nature, with clear basic rules that allow for effective management of funds. Such pride this community must take in their own and each others' successes!

A crisis occurred several years into the industry, which was experiencing exponential growth: Too many micro finance lenders extending multiple loans to single borrowers, a predatory practice which left members unable to pay. It was the social resilience of the model itself that allowed for such a swift recovery. The concept of a microfinance. It seems to me that a community of trust among members must be built in the process. A movement in which members are supported by other members in a successful, ethical program of mutual aid creates transparency and connections regarding who is trustworthy. When bad actors appeared, the news about and nature of the problem must have been understood readily in social terms, allowing members to easily ascertain where the blame did and did not lay. This must have contributed to the successful and rapid recovery of the microfinance industry from this crisis.
One of my thoughts was "Would microlending work in the US?" A quick internet search* revealed that it is already in place. Low income borrowers in the US face some of the same barriers as those in other nations. While the loans might be mini rather than micro, the need and function are the same.
*https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/microfinance-provides-benefits-for-u.s.-recipients-study-finds


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Average Rating: 5stars  sw 564: podcast review , Wednesday, October 07, 2020

By Julio Ramirez :

I really enjoyed Dr. Samant’s view of social work. I truly agree that often time we tend to view social work in a very singular way. We tend to focus a lot on micro solutions for issues that require a macro lens. I think it is evident in Dr. Samant’s work as an entrepreneur that she takes on a more macro lens to solve issues that affect individuals on micro-levels. I think a great point made by Dr. Samant was the point of teaching individuals’ financial literacy in order to decrease poverty. This idea of promoting education and empowering people is very smart and trauma-informed and can have a very positive impact. The idea to link finances and social work is very creative and I think it gives people autonomy in their life to find better solutions and create better goals. I think it is important that we do not simply see social work as counseling but rather we give clients the resources and linkage they need to provide a better life for themselves and their families. The end goals should always be to have clients become self-sufficient and empower them to be independent and educated. As social workers, we need to look at ourselves as educators and listeners and learn from our clients to then provide them with resources and knowledge to motivate them and guide them to a prosperous and independent life. That starts with education, linkage, and support, it is not always simply counseling.

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Average Rating: 5stars  sw 564: review of dr. medha samant podcast- horrigan-maurer, Wednesday, October 07, 2020

By Caroline Horrigan-Maurer :

Microfinance loans allow individuals who may not be eligible to receive traditional bank loans autonomy over their own entrepreneurial endeavors and promotes the empowerment of women in business. However, Annapurna Pariwar takes this simple concept and expands it to empower women beyond financial security and enables them to achieve security and growth in other aspects of their lives. Through the NGO’s multiple programs, women are able to contribute to their community while also obtaining financial and social independence. The program’s microinsurance program allows women to have a safety-net in terms of health and wellness, while also promoting a sense of community. Additionally, the programs related to childcare and education allow women to focus on their own livelihood, while having support to raise their families.

In my opinion, Annapurna Pariwar exemplifies collective impact. Unlike many programs that merely provide a service, Annapurna Pariwar provides opportunities that wraparound an entire community. This allows women to feel supported throughout all aspects of their life, and not a single aspect. This particular approach to social justice allows individuals to receive support holistically. Additionally, the collective impact model is truly community-based in that it brings together the multiple variables of a single problem, and coordinates solutions. This is especially important when dealing with issues that Dr. Samant discusses. Rather than a fragmented approach to dealing with poverty among women in disparate communities, collective impact leverages strengths of various fields and creates a multidisciplinary approach to a single, problem. Overall, I believe that Annapurna Pariwar is a model for combatting broad social issues that require a multifactorial solution.

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Average Rating: 4stars  social workers as social entrepreneurs, Tuesday, October 06, 2020

By Olivia Case :

Dr. Medha Samant, a trained social worker, discusses the development of Annapurna Pariwar in India, which was created out of her passion for banking and aiding poor women. With that in mind, this episode gave the listener a look into a less traditional path taken from a social work background and a unique way of helping underprivileged communities. Dr. Samant sees herself a social entrepreneur or a bridge between your traditional social worker and your traditional entrepreneur and highlights that she works with clients to design solutions where the client bears the cost, rather than the community. She believes that this aids in creating lasting change and through micro financing and financial inclusion, underlying issues such as poverty, hunger, education, and gender equality may be addressed. As an up and coming social worker, I greatly appreciated this unique take on social work, as well as her remark that she employs more social workers than any other professionals because social workers have a natural set of skills and traits including empathy and the ability to converse with others, stressing that technical skills like banking knowledge can be taught.

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Average Rating: 5stars  empowerment through economic inclusion, Monday, October 05, 2020

By Heather Rand :

Dr. Medha Samant offers a critical look into the history and implementation of Annapurna Pariwar, a collaboration of five independent development organizations dedicated to helping poor Indian women become empowered through financial self-sufficiency. Following its expansion in 1993 and driven by the vision of Dr. Samant, Annapurna Pariwar has promoted the self-determination and human rights of impoverished and oppressed women through financial inclusion (Samant, 2018). Interviewer Gokul Mandayam, PhD moves Dr. Samant to highlight the role her social work and finance background played in implementing the goal and mission of empowering poor women through a culture of mutual aid and cooperative spirit. Through Annapurna Pariwar, Dr. Samant’s vision grew from micro to macro levels exploding to over 23 million members. The collaboration began with personal loans and small self-help groups to the designing of health and life insurances for millions. Dr. Samant has made great strides in righting economic injustices through emphasizing the role of social workers in optimizing their social work skills as social entrepreneurs to work with clients to find creative solutions to larger social problems, such as food security, economic justice, and gender equality. Particularly, this podcast was interesting and motivating for social workers with backgrounds and interests in other fields, such as finance. This podcast demonstrated how a social worker can help to create solutions for larger social and global issues through addressing individual needs. Social workers, such as Dr. Samant, help to promote human rights through trauma-informed practices that help to prevent re-traumatization, while empowering oppressed and marginalized populations.

Samant, M. (2018, August 13). Pathways to Peace: Former Banker Brings Financial Independence to India’s Poorest Women. Coles College News. Retrieved from https://coles.kennesaw.edu/news/stories/pathways-peace-medha-samant.php


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Average Rating: 5stars  social work in many forms, Saturday, October 03, 2020

By Alanna Paris :

I personally really enjoyed this podcast because it showed the variety of ways in which social work can be done. When Dr. Samant said that we cannot fix everyone's problems with just counseling, she was right. Macro problems have micro implications but ultimately need macro solutions. I also like how trauma and human rights were incorporated into economic justice and just how important that is. Poverty is traumatizing, there is a constant state of worry and very little rest when our most basic needs are ignored by our government or unable to be obtained because of economic or other obstacles. I personally appreciated that this discussion allowed Dr. Samant to discuss just how she got into this work and that it didn't start as her main career or source of income. I think many social workers are daunted by starting a non-profit or organization because they feel they must take the risk of dropping everything and starting from scratch, but that isn't true. I also really appreciated that Dr. Samant has a core mission and values statement that correlates with her upbringing and personal life. It makes it far easier to uphold a mission statement and values system if you actually believe it. The idea of the 3 Bs, background, how she was brought up, and beliefs is one that will stick with me. I know everyone changes as they grow but how you are brought up still impacts you and I think it is important Dr. Samant recognizes that herself.
I really was forced to rip off some of my American notions of money when Dr. Samant said, it is not my money, it is our money. I think it really is important to see those we may be helping financially as not those who owe us after we help them, but those who are sharing our collective wealth with because our community is only as successful if every person is given the basic human right of economic security. Overall, this was a very informative and intriguing look at social work.





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Average Rating: 4stars  dr. medha samant introduces annapurna pariwar, Saturday, October 03, 2020

By Saladean Tuckett :

Dr. Medha Samant introduces Annapurna Pariwar and the idea of Social Entrepreneur with collateral free loans. The mission is to empower poor women and their families thru their finances, education, and health. Poverty leads to trauma and this type of non-profit empowers the poor. The money is used to create assets for the family, and the family flourishes. Social workers are committed to social and economic justice. Through micro insurance individual’s health can be improved because poverty creates bad health traits. Poverty decreases the quality of life for the family. These loans build up the family and the community. They can use the money to buy homes. This is an innovative and creative idea. Micro-finance could be the global solution for impoverished people. Affordable health care is not always an option for the poor. Therefore, they designed their own insurance. Affordable premiums are agreed upon by the self-help group in India, but members are not educated enough to take care of their health. Micro-financing promotes education, equality, empowerment, economic justice, and community success. Micro financing can be used to find solutions to poverty. By pooling the loan money, more people can be helped. The community will thrive. The community becomes successful. This design has been successful. They started with only 9 women, in the beginning. Now, there is over 23 million members. The loans are repaid by the families. Most of the problems of poverty can be addressed by micro-financing. The women are equals because they own assets. They learn how to save and build their own bank accounts and invest and borrow from safe places. No more borrowing money just to repay a loan. Overborrowing is eliminated thru credit bureaus. Problems of society are man-made. Innovative solutions are needed. Poverty creates trauma and human rights violations. Building credit helps to eliminate poverty. This program works.


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Average Rating: 5stars  women's empowerment through , Wednesday, October 02, 2019

By Sterling James :

Dr. Medha Samant’s interview with Gokul Mandayam, PhD, on Women’s Empowerment through Credit and Micro Finance was one of the best examples and models of building the person to build the family to build the community that I have heard of. There is a saying that says, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. This adage implies that teaching someone how to do something is more helpful to him or her in the long run than just doing it for him. The benefit of what Dr. Samant has done with the implementation of Annapurna Pariwar is that she has engaged in empowering poor people to achieve sustainability whereas they may not have done so through any other means. Creating the opportunity for poor people to gain independence has created a sense of worth to those women and an atmosphere where people are enthusiastic, positive, creative and willing to help others. I believe that this model could decrease government co-dependence and be the birth of positive change in low income communities that are consumed by the effects of poverty, such as high crime, low education and non productivity.


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Average Rating: 5stars  women's empowerment through credit plus - microfinance in india, Wednesday, October 02, 2019

By Noor Aref :

Dr. Medha Samant’s interview was enlightening and awe-inspiring to social workers like myself who want to make meaningful change in the finance/ banking industry. Before listening to this podcast I knew very little about microfinance and insurance. Dr. Samant’s integrates her entrepreneurial skills, with her banking and social work background to rethink poverty, financial trauma, and human rights violations. Social injustice and economic injustice go hand in hand, so by utilizing microfinance to empower vulnerable poor women, it breaks the cycle of intergenerational trauma. The cooperative model utilizes the trauma-informed human rights perspectives to allow the primary stakeholders of the program to also benefit from the services being provided. The microfinance self-help groups were interesting to me because the groups started with 10-20 women pulling their savings together and lend money to two to three members from the group. The group collectively would agree on the interest rate and shared the interest made that was earned from the loans. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) and mutual models could be adapted in the U.S as well. American banks also engage in oppressive and predatory lending that excludes marginalized and poor communities from getting approved for mortgages, and owning a home is crucial to building wealth. The mutual model is brilliant because the community’s financial wellness is instantly improved. It’s amazing how much this grassroots has grown since it began and provides a variety of services to benefit communities in multiple aspects of their lives (e.g. childcare services & educational sponsorships for children of low-income families). I was impressed by Dr. Samant’s decision to hire more social workers than MBA's because she saw the need for their skills and expertise to tackle the systemic oppression in the financial industry and overall improving the financial well-being of low-income women and their families’ long term.

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Average Rating: 5stars  microfinance in india, Wednesday, October 02, 2019

By Adija Almond :

It was informative to know that social work is prevalent in other countries as well because there are people that do social work duties, but do not use the term social work. An important point that Dr. Medha Sement made was that education and helping people with financing is an essential part of them succeeding and decreasing poverty. Linking finance and social work is unique, such as something that is not done often. In Buffalo there is no mention of a Microfinance programs, especially headed my a social worker. In most instances social workers provide referrals to programs that provide help with finances and financial literacy education. Microfinance and micro insurance are such an important aspect because of the outstanding benefit it can have for the populations that social workers provide assistance to, but are also topic that I have never heard of until this podcast. Providing a financial social work course would be a great asset in the current UB program because it is something that needs to be discussed due to its prevalence in organizations, individuals, and families. When people's finances are not right, it is difficult to focus on other issues and have stability. In addition, this made me realize how social workers can have a place in any organization such as a bank which is a place most social workers would not think of working. As social workers, we must be creative in finding solution for the community we serve and create what is not already there. Lastly, we must be open to collaborating with other fields of work and taking risk because of the programs it can bring about to help people.

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Average Rating: 4stars  combining interests , Wednesday, October 02, 2019

By Rebecca Adinolfe :

I enjoyed this podcast and listening to how Dr. Medha Samant combined her two interested of women empowerment and finance into one dream, Annapurna Pariwar (AP) to address a more significant socioeconomic problem. I don’t think we always think of financial education as a means of empowerment. Finance is an area that intimidates many people because it’s complicated. AP comes in and guides women through their finances to educate them and promote self-determination; giving women control of their lives again. Becoming financially self-sustainable intersects into many integral roles of our lives and being.
I particularly enjoyed it when Samant talked about self-help groups where women or men, but more commonly women, come together in a safe group in India to pool together savings and give loans out to some of the members when they need it. The idea of self-help groups goes back to the meaning of AP which is a big family that serves the needs of its members. Self-help groups give women a community family, a source of education, and financial stability.
AP touches on all levels of social work practice by empowering individuals, creating sustainable communities and groups of women, and then on a macro level looking at human rights and trauma to address finance insecurity. Social workers add a trauma-informed and human rights perspective to the world of business, finance, and industry. AP employees hundreds of social workers because of their ability to empathize with clients and visualize client needs. The banking industry in itself is about return investment and is therefore not inclined to give loans to the poor, which perpetuates a cycle of poverty. Because of low education, women are often cheated into high-interest rates that push them further into debt. Microfinancing, micro-credit and savings programs address social and economic injustices in a way that assists people to work out of their poverty, which is why a social work perspective in business is so important.

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Average Rating: 4stars  social work and micro finance, Tuesday, October 01, 2019

By Kristen Hibit :

It is important, for me, to understand macro interventions through already existing, successful models. The greatest take away that I have is how Dr. Samant applies a social work perspective to empower poor women through micro-finance, a field that I do not have expertise in. The story of Annapurna Pariwar (AP) is quite incredible as Dr. Samant combine two of her personal interests, women and finance, to address larger socioeconomic problems. It’s inspiring to learn about a female social worker’s entrepreneurial endeavor and success in creating an effective business model. I do not think that we are necessarily encouraged to or think we have the skill set to be entrepreneurs, however, I do feel that there is a need for social workers to be more integrated into business spaces. I really appreciate her forward advice in not being scared of finance or data. I, personally, am scared of finance and data but I know that if I work to understand and diversify my skill set I will be more effective. Social workers need to understand finance to run organizations, demonstrate impact, etc. She is right, we cannot solve systemic issues by giving individual advice, which is why interventions such as micro-finance are critical in fighting poverty and inequality. I thought the question pertaining to how the work of AP addresses trauma and human rights was really important in understanding the problem and sustainable goals. Dr. Samant expressed that poverty creates trauma and financial stability and quality of life are human rights. The program holistically incorporates the whole family to prevent future trauma in poverty and aims to seek economic and social justice. AP truly incorporates social work values such as empowerment, rapport, self-determination, human rights, social and economic justice paired with trauma informed business practices to meet individual needs and achieve sustainable solutions to problems.

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Average Rating: 5stars  microfinancing / women empowerment , Tuesday, October 01, 2019

By Timothy Walters :

I really enjoyed listening to Dr. Samant‘s ability to convey how her background inspired her to create programs that would empower the women. I too come from a generational history of helpers in my family. So, I was able to relate to her drive on a personal level. In contrast, I also witness different variations of oppression within the communities in which I live and have lived in the past. Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, poverty, substance abuse, unemployment, and just a lack of self-sufficiency has been a common theme in my scope of experience professionally, and personally. I admired her creativity in how she used micro-financing to enhance oppressed and vulnerable women’s economic systems. Often times, people of lower socioeconomic status are unable to receive loans from a bank. Hearing her break down the social infrastructure of the micro financing programs really gave me a deeper understanding of how someone could empower the masses by simply being considerate of one’s trauma history. Her programs gave the recipients choice, empowerment, safety, trustworthiness, and she did that by collaborating with them. Allowing the recipients of said programs lowered their chances of being victimized in the future, which I believe is an amazing outcome to achieve. The meaning of the name Annapurna Pariwar alone, exudes positivity, compassion, and unity. The origin of the word isn’t limited to an individual. It considers groups of people and in this instance, groups of women are being considered and represented in India. In regards to economic security, social workers specifically should be aware of ideas such as micro financing. It could really broaden our scope of understanding in which could put us into a more equipped positon to help someone with their financial literacy.

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Average Rating: 5stars  micro financing, Saturday, September 28, 2019

By LiPing Lin :

Dr. Medha Samant’s views on social entrepreneurship opened my eyes and expanded my mindset on what constitutes and is considered social work practice. Most people would not think that starting a micro financing business would be social advocacy and social practice, but Dr. Samant made a great case for it. Her podcast also touched upon an interesting notion of creating a business that is profitable, but also build individuals and families up and create a thriving community. I believe Dr. Samant’s work focused on women in India, but it would be a game changer in American society too. We have a large percentage of people in poverty and even more crucial, a percentage of individuals and families struggling on 2 dollars a day. Micro financing would change the lives of these individuals and the communities they are a part of. Like Dr. Samant intended with naming the company Annapurna Pariwar, they are helping each other and creating a family/community of their own. The role of social workers is to help our clients, but most people think that social work consist mostly of counseling and interventions. For social workers working with clients stuck in poverty and struggling to make ends meet, the best practice is not counseling but to offer them resources such as government aid and community support that can help the situation. Depending on the type of clients we work with, social workers try to help our clients become financially self-sustainable and it is crucial that we do so. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the basics such as food, shelter, and water need to be meet before clients would consider dealing with trauma, which is a higher level of need. For the most part, money will solve the basic needs. For other clients, being financially self-sustainable means freedom. For example, a client in a domestic abuse situation struggles to get out of the toxic relationship due to the financial fears she has since her partner is the breadwinner of the family.

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Average Rating: 4stars  microfinancing (mf) for survivors of domestic violence, Wednesday, September 25, 2019

By Danielle Bernas :

This topic is particularly important when discussing the ability of survivors of DV to achieve independence and financial means of self-sufficiency. With focus on women, and as discussed in the podcast, MF can empower women to improve their quality of life. With regard to women who are victims of DV, opportunities for MF may encourage them to escape their situation in knowing that they have a better chance of supporting themselves and their children without relying on their abuser. Survivors of DV have little access to traditional means of lending (i.e. banks) as they often have no established credit or independent finances due to isolation and control perpetuated by an abuser. In addition to MF, and again as discussed, social workers cannot rely on MF alone to facilitate and maintain empowerment and financial self-sufficiency; financial literacy is also a key component of sustainability. Furthermore, as social workers, we must consider all levels of practice when working with clients, that being the impact of social/economic injustices that play a role in the perpetuation of abuse and inequality. The concept of social entrepreneurship is one with which social workers should not only be familiar but should implement to an extent into their everyday practice. Social workers should at least be knowledgeable about concepts such as microcredit, financial inclusion, and other business/financial concepts that pertain to client outcomes and global solutions. As Dr. Samant states, “…we cannot solve the problems of human beings only by counseling them..." While discussing the benefits and success of MF, the podcast was purposeful in refusing to neglect discussion surrounding the problems that may arise from MF, that being over borrowing, poor regulation, and abuse of clients and ways in which these crises may be overcome. The discussion was truly meaningful and appropriate to very real situations that our clients face.

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Average Rating: 4stars  women's empowerment, Wednesday, September 18, 2019

By Rachel Grandits :

This podcast was informative, enriching and captivating. Prior to watching it, I have not had exposure or awareness regarding microfinancing, as well as the severity and deprived nature of India’s economic system. I especially appreciate that Medha Semant took the time to describe the complexity and scale of the infrastructure of the financing and borrowing system, as well as the expression of her familial background, passion and commitment to the work that she has put forth over the last few decades. Her work - via perseverance and passion – will leave a lasting impact, will help to nurture, supplement and create space to improve the economic system.
I feel that Annapunna Pariwar was innovative and based upon intuition primarily, with compassion built in its roots.The basis of trust and compassion has allowed the nonprofit to expand and grow. I feel that using an open minded approach and adopting the perspective of “come what may” is realistic in the sense that there is a bracing for crisis, conflict or setbacks; it promotes acceptance as the perspective does not inherently turn anyone away. It provides child care to women in need and instills empowerment for each to become a proprietor in a sense. The organization is trauma-informed, allowing trust, safety, choice, collaboration and empowerment, which alludes to its impact and ability to instill change.
Secondly, this podcast resonated with me in several ways, personally, which alludes to the appreciation for it. Having been adopted as an infant from Calcutta– the most impoverished city in southern India – I grew up assimilating primarily to the American culture and understanding United States’ history. Recently, I have come to have and expressed an interest in understanding my Indian heritage in an in depth sense. This podcast, delving into the impoverished effects of the fiscal and financial climate in India, helped me to distinguish cultural differences, as well as the harsh realities that coincide.

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Average Rating: 5stars  empowerment, Sunday, September 15, 2019

By Aubree Jones :

I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast and listening to Dr. Medha Samant’s background and how she got to where she is now. The programs she developed were really filling gaps in the system that existed. She recognized the need for women to have access to small loans. Once they mastered that, she moved on to insurance issues and continued from there. Dr. Samant included all of the community members in discussions on what was needed in their community. In addition to that, she focused on hiring social workers within her five organizations because they have the skills that she knew were important to the work being done, like counseling and empathizing with clients while working with them to find solutions to their problems.
I really liked to hear all the ways she thought to work with those that were underserved to help them to become self-sufficient. She gave loans to women that could not get traditional loans from banks, and insurance to those that insurance companies would not cover. She really thought about how to empower people that were being ignored by the existing systems. Through the conversations she had with the women that she gave loans to she learned about their other unmet needs, like child care, and was really able to focus on giving the community what the community members felt they needed.
I think we can all learn from and be inspired by Dr. Samant and her ability to really connect to the community and learn from them. I feel like she was able to work with those most in need and she built trust with them over time, continued to serve them and empower them. This idea of financial inclusion can be translated to so many other aspects where we see certain populations being underserved or completely ignored. I think many of the services Dr. Samant is able to offer are things that are needed in many countries. We can learn a lot from her trauma-informed approach in serving her community.

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Average Rating: 5stars  self-sufficiency in social work practice , Monday, February 04, 2019

By Terese Caiazza :

Dr. Samant’s podcast was extraordinarily empowering, packed with information, and supports a well-echoed message about the necessity of client self-sufficiency in social work practice. As an undergraduate sociology student, parts of my curriculum touched briefly upon Microcredit/Microfinance, as well as its drawbacks and benefits. As a feminist and social work grad student, I find Dr. Samant’s gender-based motivations for microcredit institutions to be particularly empowering. The basic premise of the Microcredit “movement” is pretty simple: poor people who can’t get a loan at a commercial bank are able to receive small, realistically repayable loans to help turn their lives around. More complex, though, is the way in which focusing this movement on women (poor women or women in certain geographic regions in particular) has a unique impact on individuals, family systems, and poverty as a whole. The whole family is much more likely to benefit when a woman is doing the earning, because family income centered around men operates as a trickle-down system rather than a system of shared wealth. On the other hand, In many cultures, women are considered to be the closest to children, and therefore the most motivated to care for and help them get educated. As part of her closing advice to young social work students, Dr. Samant states that “we cannot solve the problems of human beings only by counseling them, only by giving them advice...but we have to understand that becoming financially self-sustainable is the need, and is the basis of becoming a respectable human being.” Dr. Samant’s reminder affirms an important message to all of us who work in the human service and “helping” professions: the best practices of trauma-informed and human-rights based work favors empowerment strategies and prioritizes client self-sufficiency. It’s necessary that we allow people and communities to be self-sufficient, even if we provide the initial resources, connections, microcredit, etc.

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Average Rating: 4stars  empowering women, Tuesday, October 09, 2018

By Estella :

This was a very empowering and intriguing podcast. In my experience working with vulnerable populations, women are the glue that holds families together. The empowerment of women is essential for building stronger economies and improving the quality of life for women and their families. The implementation of Annapurna Pariwar is an innovative way of including women financially and empowering women in a holistic approach. Microfinancing generates sustainable growth for women and Dr. Samant really aimed to address the issue by first understanding the system in which women may be oppressed and then reacting to it. It makes sound economic sense to invest in women who are low on the socioeconomic status because it can boost/improve the economy, communities, and reduce poverty.

Great Podcast!

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Average Rating: 5stars  social work and finance, Monday, October 08, 2018

By Sarah Huerta Well :

When thinking about banking and loans, social work is not the first thing that comes to my mind. However, as Dr. Medha Samant so beautifully shared, Annapurna Pariwar is a combination of the world of finance and social work values and skills. This podcast effectively shares how like minded individuals with different backgrounds come together to create Annapurna Pariwar, which has now become the work of several collaborating organizations. As social workers, we have skills that are extremely transferable, thus the options we have available to us are many. This was a lovely reminder that we as social workers need not limit what we do, yet if we think creatively and outside the box, we will find just how appropriate and useful the social work experience and perspective can be to an variety of areas. Dr. Samant showed us how meeting the people where they were at, listening to their story, and allowing them to guide the process resulted in what is now called Annapurna Pariwar. Rather than create an entirely new program from scratch, she began the work with what the people were already doing (self-help groups). She saw the need, saw what was already put into place from the people themselves, and expanded on that idea to help create what exists today. This is social work.

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Average Rating: 5stars  great pod cast., Monday, October 08, 2018

By Gary Ye :

I would have never thought that the scope of social work could be so vast ranging. This podcast really showed me how important having a social work background is and how much of a difference we can make in all sorts of work.



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Average Rating: 4stars  an interesting perspective, Monday, October 08, 2018

By Sara L. :

I thought that this podcast was extremely interesting and insightful in regards to the level in which social workers can help people. I never really made a connection between micro-financing and banking and how it can be a social work practice. I believe that this organization is doing great things in order to empower the people and make them feel like that they can handle their own finances. The only thing for me personally is that I am not too good with numbers, so I do not believe that this would be something that I would want to pursue but it can be options for other people.



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Average Rating: 4stars  changing the way we look at money, Saturday, October 06, 2018

By Melissa Cirina :

The story Annapurna Pariwar is an inspiring example of what interdisciplinary work can accomplish. The work of this program is trauma-informed, culturally competent, and a wonderful example of what community based organizations can grow to achieve. Innovation is not always novel ideas and can be everyday services reimagined. Individuals should never second guess how their skills can be applied to create social change. A banker and a social worker may look very different until you recognize the opportunity to address access to resources and financial literacy and a tool for empowerment. I know I will never think of finances in quiet the same way after listening to the innovative practices that allowed Annapurna Pariwar to be the success that it is. Whether you are a micro, mezzo, or macro level practitioner, at some point you may want reevaluate how you view money. If we can find ways as social workers to harness financial capital in order to raise our clients up rather than see it as a barrier to overcome, I believe there will be a shift in how we approach poverty, funding, and the systems surrounding us.

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Average Rating: 4stars  be fearless!, Tuesday, October 02, 2018

By Jessica Brown :

This podcast was challenging for me because just like the stereotype of social workers I feel that i am not very gifted with data and numbers, and financial terms send me brain into "yellow alert". However, a lack of financial literacy for social workers does mean a lack of ability to confidently and effectively advocate for micro and macro-level changes to benefit poor people we work for. Thank you for this insight!

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Average Rating: 4stars  women's empowerment, Tuesday, September 18, 2018

By gb :

I found the explanation of the grassroots efforts that led to assistance for hundreds of thousands and even millions of women to be very inspiring. Dr. Samant described in some detail how her “over idealistic” plan associated with microfinance blossomed into asset building, food security and improved healthcare and education for an enormous number of Indian families. Considering that many social workers seem to shy away from math and science, I appreciated the way Dr. Samant was able to take the fear out of finances and related it to being comfortable identifying client service needs, whatever they may be, and finding a way to address them. I thought that Dr. Samant gave clear examples of how extreme poverty can lead to trauma. Examples including children of working families left alone and potentially exploited and lack of accessibility to adequate medical services potentially leading to further sufficiency issues really helped provide a clear connection between poverty and trauma. It was very uplifting to think about the programs of Annapurna Pariwar working toward social and economic justice for women and families and addressing gender equality, food security, education and child care. The use of empirical data and evidence based practice when looking toward new projects seems to add to the credibility and validity of these pursuits. This podcast provided a wonderful opportunity to be able to hear how about a program from its inception to present day, including those bumps along the way that are almost inevitable. Thank you, Dr. Samant, for sharing this window into your world.

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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.