Knowledge of practices, good and bad, across the developing countries in the World can not only foster the development of the micro insurance sector, but also can accelerate the process of advancement. In order to pool the knowledge from practices and make it available for further advancement in the micro insurance sector, Tata-Dhan Academy, a development education institute, promoted by DHAN Foundation, a pioneering not-for-profit development organization in India has endeavored to set up the Advanced Centre for Skill and Knowledge on Mutual Insurance (ASKMI). DHAN Foundation has over two decades of rich field experience in furthering mutuality amongst the poor communities through its various development programmes.
For more than a decade, the federations of Self-Help Groups of poor women and farmers have added micro insurance into their portfolio as part of the services rendered by them. Many of them have attempted and proved the feasibility of applying the concept of mutuality in delivering micro insurance services to their members. In 2003, these federations have come together and promoted the 'People Mutuals', an exclusive organization that could strive to promote mutual insurance as a concept and practice among the federations. The Netherlands based 'Oxfam Novib' and 'Rabobank Foundation' extended financial support while 'Interpolis' provided the technical assistance. Some of these federations have already set up mutual insurance programmes with the technical assistance of Micro Insurance Association Netherlands (MIAN), all of which have exhibited initial successes and a lot of potential to cater to the diverse needs of the poor. The experience has to be documented and taken to relevant stakeholders for learning and contextualization. Further research on this is also warranted in advancing the concept and practice. This is not an experiment in isolation. There are many such similar experiments occurring in diverse contexts, each of which could offer rich learning for the other and potential new entrants.
ASKMI, the specialized centre at the Academy would Endeavour to foster the process of advancing the practice of micro insurance through appropriate knowledge management systems and processes that include research, documentation, publication, training, education, policy advocacy etc. MIAN is providing guidance and support for nurturing the Centre. ZLM, Oxfam Novib, RABO Bank Foundation and Interpolis, The Netherlands have also added to the support. ASKMI would draw on the strengths of 'People Mutuals' and would collaborate with other NGO partners and other interested stakeholders towards realizing its purpose.