Manabik Shahajya Sangstha (MSS) is a premier Bangladeshi non-governmental organization formed by a group of students of Dhaka Residential Model School and later of the University of Dhaka in 1974 when the country was hit by a massive flood. MSS started as a relief agency which later reoriented its focus on poverty alleviation through microcredit and development. Currently, MSS programs are integrated and include micro credit, women empowerment, and healthcare, childcare, primary education, among others, with the goal to establish a society free from poverty where there is equality among citizens and citizens’ rights and dignity are respected.
From 1977, MSS redirected its focus on poverty alleviation and empowerment of the poor, especially the urban women and children of Dhaka city undertaking a variety of programs aimed at development. Thus, MSS ran pre-school and non-formal primary education programs; skill development programs for women to facilitate employment opportunities; handicraft production and marketing by disadvantaged women and continued emergency disaster relief operations.
From 1982 MSS provided health and family planning services in two wards of Dhaka City Corporation. In 1984, an integrated savings and credit program – Small Credit Fund (SCF) – for the urban poor was launched to cater to the financial needs of small businesses in the informal sector and to introduce them to the formal banking sector. MSS also conducted collective advocacy campaigns on violence against women and other social issues. MSS received the Prime Minister’s Population Award in 1991 and Dhaka City Corporation Mayor’s Award for its Immunization program in 1992 for outstanding performance.
MSS was in the frontline when focus of development shifted to building democratic societies and promoting good governance in the early nineties. MSS believes that democracy and development are intimately related; one cannot occur without the other. MSS through its democracy promotion arm – the Study and Research Group (SRG) – undertook programs on good governance, countrywide domestic election monitoring and electoral law reform followed by a proactive advocacy campaign for implementation of reform recommendations led by the civil society; human rights, civic and voter education; Study Circle program to resolve community issues collectively; Legislative Support program to provide technical support to lawmakers; dialogues and discussions among members of parliament and with other professional groups, among others.
One of the outstanding achievements of MSS was the establishment of the Fair Election Movement Alliance (FEMA), in 1995, which started as a citizen’s coalition for monitoring elections comprising over 170 national and local non-governmental organizations and eminent individuals with network spanning throughout the country. FEMA remained an unregistered coalition housed in the MSS until 2003, after which it became an independent organization.
PRESENT PROGRAMS OF MSS:
Women’s Credit Program (WCP): With lessons learned from its earlier credit and savings program, SCF, MSS started the Women’s Credit Program (WCP) in 1989. With Grameen Bank’s technical assistance MSS-WCP became the first urban replication of the Grameen model in Bangladesh. It is now an integrated savings and credit program with crucial social services component. The WCP mobilizes women, supports them build their own institutions, mobilize savings and provide credit to its members, encourage establishment of micro enterprises, promote small and medium enterprises, provide skill development trainings, awareness raising and counseling, give loans to beggars and ultra-poor and provide support to its calamity stricken members.
As of December 31, 2017 the WCP has expanded to rural areas as well. It has 136 branches across 16 districts with over 1200 staff managing over 207,000+ active members. Savings of members stood at Tk.1580 million and disbursement of Tk. 35,800 million, maintaining a loan recovery rate of 99.63%. The WCP with its social services component is self-sustainable program.
MSS received the 9th Citi Group best MFI award 2013.
To Know more. Please visit this site: www.mssbd.org