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.
2022-06-14: Women’s groups include self-help groups (SHGs), livelihoods groups, producer collectives, and other groups formed with social action, health, and empowerment objectives. Women’s groups are widespread in South Asia where they are instrumental in generating economic opportunities and enhancing women’s well-being. The existing literature highlights promising evidence of positive impacts of some women’s group types on women’s economic, political, reproductive, and social empowerment. However, the women’s groups’ objectives differ as do their results.
Co-organized by the South Asia Gender Innovation Lab (SAR GIL) and the Evidence Consortium on Women's Groups (ECWG), speakers in the webinar presented findings from three streams of work supported by the South Asia Gender Innovation Lab. Watch the recording here
2022-06-14: Financial and accounting training can help self-help group (SHG) leaders address managerial gaps that constrain SHGs’ economic development. These gaps may include lack of leadership and traceability of financial transactions, for example. The preliminary results of a training with 30 SHGs in 3 Indian villages suggest enhanced confidence of SHG members to hold effective meetings, increased SHGs’ financial maturity, and improved saving attitudes, which are crucial elements to building SHG resilience in a sustainable manner. Read the blog by AMMACHI Labs here
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