From the ECWG Team
In the last newsletter, the ECWG reported on an evidence review on women’s groups and COVID-19. We now also have it in French.
Read the French version of the brief here
Participatory Learning and Action Community of Practice
In March 2021, Women & Children First (UK) officially launched the Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) Community of Practice. The Community of Practice (CoP) is a place for all those interested in the PLA group approach from around the world to share and learn best practice in design, implementation and evaluation of PLA. The community has four pillars:
- Breaking news from PLA programmes across the world
- A regular schedule of webinars exploring cutting edge issues
- A forum for engagement and collaboration with other practitioners (coming soon)
- A comprehensive library of articles, films and reports
(PLA) Community of Practice - More Details
The CoP is also organizing a webinar on Tuesday, 22nd June at 9:30am BST, which will focus on adapting PLA beyond maternal and newborn health. Some of the areas covered will include family planning, nutrition and diabetes. It will feature a panel including Professor Kishwar Azad, Director of the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh – Perinatal Care Project. Save the Date in your calendar now. The webinar registration will open soon.
©Gates Archive/Saumya Khandelwal
From Our Partners
Gender Samvaad: National Rural Livelihoods Mission and IWWAGE launch platform to promote gender equality
Gender Samvaad is a joint attempt between DAY NRLM and IWWAGE to create a common platform for generating greater awareness on NRLM’s interventions across the country and best practices, with a focus on hearing voices from the states and the field.
Early Insights from a Digital Intervention among Members of Women Collectives
With the aim of increasing information about and uptake of government entitlements, and with the support of the State Rural Livelihoods Mission (SRLM) in the state of Chhattisgarh, IWWAGE - an initiative of LEAD at Krea University and Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions Private Limited (HESPL), is implementing a project on promoting government entitlements through women self-help group (SHG) members as agents. These SHG women members, known as Haqdarshikas, go door to door to households within their communities to provide information and enable households to apply for these government programs, for a small fee. The research team at IWWAGE - an initiative of LEAD at Krea University, conducted a survey of 411 Haqdarshikas in September and October 2020 to understand factors that influence retention and drop-out from the program.
Women’s Leadership in COVID-19 Response
This article, by Rukmini Tankha of IWWAGE, presents insights from a study and summarises good practices, strategies and innovations that were spearheaded by SHGs amidst the pandemic. Findings from the report provide early lessons from ground-level action taken and recommendations for strengthening women’s leadership to respond to crises.
©Gates Archive/Nelson Owoicho
Recent research on women’s groups
Building Resilience through Self Help Groups: Evidence Review
This report synthesizes the state of knowledge on the linkages between psychosocial factors and resilience through the lens of Self Help Groups (SHGs). The objective of the report is two-fold. First, it seeks to provide practitioners and researchers with a better understanding of what is already known about how psychosocial factors contribute to resilience through SHGs. Second, in synthesizing the state of knowledge on this topic, it highlights the gaps in the current evidence base to inform a learning agenda. Watch the webinar related to this review.
Exploring Financial Inclusion With Village Savings and Loan Associations in Ghana’s Wa-West District
Financial inclusion (FI) has played a significant role in Ghana's economic transformation but is not widespread in rural areas. Lack of access to FI systems in these areas has increased poverty and induced higher rural-urban migration. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the VSLAs as a FI model for poverty and vulnerability reduction. Findings suggest an increase in FI in rural areas may reduce the economic disparities between rural and urban areas in Ghana leading to positive social change.
Savings Groups: Model, Welfare and Design
The authors develop a model of Savings Groups (SGs) that captures the main distortionary features of VSLA-type (Village Savings and Loan Association) SGs. Calibrating the model to data from Uganda, the authors find that SGs provide benefits equal to 1.38% of consumption (consumption equivalent variation; CEV) or US$2.76 (financial value; FV) per member per month relative to autarky, which easily justify the low implementation costs.
Early lessons from Swabhimaan, a multi-sector integrated health and nutrition programme for women and girls in India
Swabhimaan is a five-year initiative (2016-2021) integrated within the Government of India’s flagship poverty alleviation programme, Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), across three states in India, carried out in partnership with UNICEF. The programme aims to mobilise women via village-level women’s collectives to develop and implement integrated nutrition microplans and strengthen local government services in order to improve the nutrition outcomes of women and adolescent girls. The results are presented of a midline evaluation carried out in 2018-2019 covering villages in five different sites across the three states.
Impact of Joining Rotating Savings and Credit Association (Rosca) on Household Assets in Indonesia
This paper aims to evaluate the impact of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (RoSCA) on household assets in Indonesia. RoSCA is locally known as arisan in Indonesia and has been around for many centuries as a special form of micro-savings institution that is informal and community based. The authors use the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS) data collected in 2000, 2007 and 2014, covering around 83 percent of Indonesia's population.
In the interest of saving: Refugee-led microfinance in Kampala, Uganda
This article sheds light on this underexplored phenomenon through an empirical study of refugee-led microfinance groups in Kampala and an overview of the existing local landscape of refugee-serving organizations and microfinance institutions providing loans.
News and commentary on Women’s Groups
COVID-19 in India: community groups are helping support maternal and child health services
As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in India worsens, Aastha Kant, assistant director of research programmes at the Johns Hopkins Maternal and Child Health Center, India, highlights how community support groups have provided a vital service in the pandemic relief efforts.
Green growth: the save-the-mangrove scheme reaping rewards for women in Kenya
A community project on the Lamu archipelago trains women in preserving this vital ecosystem and provides business loans.
Generating Employment for Rural Women Migrants
Read about the ‘Employment Generation Program for women’ of the Cane Development Department supporting the livelihoods of rural women entrepreneurs during the Corona pandemic.
Second COVID-19 wave: Relief measures for poor, women SHGs on the cards
The Indian government is considering a moratorium on repayments of working capital loans for street vendors and collateral-free loans to women self-help groups (SHGs) following the second wave of the pandemic.