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The Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups

The Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups aims to generate and synthesize rigorous evidence to guide development partners, practitioners, researchers, and policy makers in implementing and strengthening programming and policies on women’s groups globally, with a current focus on India, Nigeria, and Uganda.

Learning Agenda on Women’s Groups

The Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups has developed a learning agenda (full version | summary version) based on a portfolio evaluation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s investments in women’s groups across South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The learning agenda will address key evidence gaps on the impact, cost-effectiveness, and the implementation of women’s groups at scale in India, Nigeria, and Uganda.

Featured Content

2022-02-25: Livelihoods and microfinance programs for women often show reduced impacts after scale-up. Yet, program scale-up may reduce average per capita costs and maintain cost-effectiveness despite lower impact. Our paper presents evidence on the association between program scale, costs, and cost-effectiveness by analyzing how the costs of a large-scale Self-Help Group (SHG) program in India changed from its inception in 2007 to its scale-up in 2019. We use expenditure data from program’s audit statements of Jeevika – the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society – and find that a 1% increase in program membership was associated with a 0.6% increase in annual program expenditures, indicating large economies of scale for this outcome. Building on a rich history of research on Jeevika, we argue that program implementers must identify key success factors in pilot programs to minimize tradeoffs between cost savings and potentially reduced impacts after scale-up. Read our paper published in World Development

2022-02-25: We organized a webinar that focused on two studies that demonstrate costs of scaled-up livelihoods and health interventions, delivered through women’s group programming. The session specifically explored economies of scale and cost-effectiveness of a Self-Help Group program in India, and the scale-up costs and outcomes of a participatory learning and action cycle with women's groups across multiple countries. Watch the recording here

2022-02-25: Should we still expand programs if impacts reduce after scaling up? What happens if economies of scale push costs low enough that they offset the lower impacts, and help retain the overall cost-effectiveness of the program? ECWG members Garima Siwach, Sohini Paul and Thomas De Hoop explore these questions and share their findings with us in this blog. Read our blog here