Internship at Chaitanya

Dr. Sudha Kothari first came to Khed block, a rural area in Pune district, state of Maharastra in 1982 to study community based organizations for her PhD. During her research, she found that many villages had formally registered Mahila Mandals (Women’s Groups), several issues were found to be of major concern within these communities.

Six years later, as a Trustee member for the Academy for Education and Youth Services (AEYS), Dr. Kothari organized a women’s get together to learn about and address the needs of these communities. This meeting resulted in the formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs), motivating women to save money as a community. These groups came together and formed the Grameen Mahila Swayamsiddha Sangha (GMSS), which got registered as a charitable society in 1993. Chaitanya was initiated as a not-for-profit organization to support the GMSS and provide assistance in financial and social activities.

Chaitanya has played a catalytic role in spreading the SHG movement in and around Maharashtra and is one of the pioneers of the SHG movement in the state. GMSS, the first SHG federation in Maharashtra promoted by Chaitanya started functioning in the year 1991.

Vision: A gender just, equitable and self reliant society where women have access to and control over family finances and other resources. 

Mission: Developing capabilities of rural poor, especially women and youth by promoting and strengthening self-reliant sustainable institutions, to enable them to lead the process of development and achieve a better quality of life.

Current work:

Chaitanya works with over 92,000 rural women and her households spread across 1,411 villages through 50 federations in 18 districts of Maharashtra.


Chaitanya offices are located in Rajgurunagar, which is a small town in the Khed District of Maharastra.  


Private accommodation at the Guest House in Rajgurunagar where Chaitanya has its offices. 



Chirag program aims at building capacities of Self Help Groups (SHGs) at various levels. Chaitanya facilitated the formation of Grameen Mahila Swayamsiddha Sangh (GMSS), the first federation of SHGs in Maharashtra. Today, GMSS functions as an independent unit and provides guidance to other SHG federations.


Jankar program aims to build capacities of selected SHG members as Community Resource Persons, for providing information related to law, formation of SHGs, financial literacy, livelihood, health, and various schemes and programs of the government. The program is committed to build a cadre of female leaders with in-depth knowledge and skills to empower women to solve self-identified needs.


Livelihood program aims to enhance the knowledge of livelihood and the skills required to manage available resources, use new technologies for agricultural needs, generate local level employment through experimentation, increase the income via innovations and provide for market linkages. The program conducts trainings in better farm practices, animal husbandry, kitchen garden, horticulture and entrepreneurship.


Chaitanya has been recognized as a resource org on SHGs and community based micro-finance. Their training tools have been used extensively across the state of Maharashtra for over 15 years. As a resource organization, they provide technical support to organisations in 6 states. 2 certificate courses in microfinance and Not-for-Profit management are also being run jointly with Tata Institute of Social Sciences. They are the resource organization for the Manthan-Vidarbha network of 23 Charities.


A Health program that aims at the improvement of health and nutrition among women and children Chaitanya’s goal is to build capacities of the rural community to enable them to pursue a healthy life. They piloted a micro health insurance program called Deepti Arogya Nidhi which focuses on absorbing health shocks and promoting better health choices.

Projects for interns:

  1. Impact assessment – Analysing and assessing impact (current impact, impact of women's empowerment and livelihood generation)
  2. Member satisfaction survey- To create a survey that can be scaled and taken across to 50 locations where Chaitanya has their operations.
  3. Soft skills development for staff- Team building, leadership development and communication modules.
  4. SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for all programs- Step by step process documentation and workflows in a handbook that can be shared with new staff, funders etc.

Internship duration:

Minimum duration for the internship is 12 weeks and maximum is 20 weeks

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Cindy Klinger, Georgia state university, USA

Cindy Klinger, Georgia state university, USA

I think BEYOND BORDERS is a professional organization that had a good grasp for what we were looking

Jayme Aargon, Oregon university, USA

Jayme Aargon, Oregon university, USA

Mark and I toured Dharavi last weekend and one thing that stood out was how self-sufficient this com

Alexandra Spicer, UTS, Australia

Alexandra Spicer, UTS, Australia

Thank you to you both once again for providing such an amazing experience, this is truly one I will