From the ECWG Team
Effects of integrated economic and health interventions with women’s groups on health-related knowledge, behaviours and outcomes in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review protocol
Economic groups, such as microfinance or self-help groups are widely implemented in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). The review will include (1) randomised trials and non-randomised quasiexperimental studies of intervention effects of integrated economic and health interventions delivered through women’s groups in LMICs, and (2) sibling studies that examine factors related to intervention content, context, implementation processes and costs.
©Gates Archive/Nelson Owoicho
From Our Partners
Gender Samvaad Ensuring an inclusive response and recovery from COVID: Best Practices from State Rural Livelihoods Missions in India
The second Gender Samvaad session, jointly organized by Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) and IWWAGE, focused on the challenges posed by the second wave of the pandemic and the extent to which states have been able to respond to these by leveraging the collective potential and solidarity of women's groups. Representatives from three State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs) presented on how they were addressing the COVID-19 crisis.
View the recording here
India needs to empower its women entrepreneurs
Based on studies conducted by LEAD at Krea University, this article argues for simplification of processes and leveraging trusted channels such as SHGS to improve uptake of government schemes by women entrepreneurs.
Read the article here
Savings Evidence Map
The Savings Evidence Map, developed by SEEP, provides consolidated access to evidence related to savings focused financial inclusion.
Access the map here
©Gates Archive/Saumya Khandelwal
Recent research on women’s groups
The power of the collective empowers women: Evidence from self-help groups in India
In India, a large majority of women’s groups programs are implemented through self-help groups (SHGs). Originally designed as savings and credit groups, the role of SHGs has expanded to include creating health and nutrition awareness, improving governance, and addressing social issues related to gender- and caste-based discrimination. This paper uses panel data from 1470 rural Indian women from five states to study the impact of SHG membership on women’s empowerment in agriculture, using the project-level Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (pro-WEAI) and the abbreviated Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (A-WEAI).
Data-driven & Theory-driven Science: Artificial Realities and Applications to Savings Groups
This study analyzes savings groups using theory-driven and data-driven methods. Simulated realities - based on data-driven theory - are used to understand the emerging dynamics of savings groups. The findings of the papers in this dissertation provide new large-sample evidence about savings groups, their dynamics, and the factors affecting their financial performance. The results of the papers shed light on the best policies to promote sustainable development with informal finance in a cost-effective way.
The Role of Agricultural Instructors on the Income of Rejeki Alami Women Farmer Group Members
Agricultural extension is an activity carried out by agricultural instructors to improve skills, knowledge, and attitudes of farmers. Increasing the farmers’ knowledge may help to increase farm income and meet the family needs. This study aims to analyze the role of agricultural instructors, the income received by members of Rejeki Alami Women Farmer Group members, and the influence of the agricultural instructors’ role on the income of Rejeki Alami Women Farmer Group members.
Female Empowerment through Village Savings and Loan Associations in Rwanda
The village-based microfinance approach Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) has been implemented in developing countries for three decades, and is found to be an effective tool in alleviating poverty and facilitating access to financial services in rural areas. This study, done in collaboration with Vi Agroforestry, aimed to investigate the impact of VSLA activities on female empowerment in Rwanda, and more specifically, how women’s access to and control over assets have been affected by VSLA participation.
Solidarity & Resistance: Women’s Perspectives on Empowerment through Self Help Groups
The author studies the meanings and experiences of empowerment or nari shakti as understood and described by rural women who lead self-help groups (SHGs) engaged in savings, micro-credit and income generation. She conducted the research in the central Himalayan region of rural India in Uttarakhand State, using in-depth interviews with 11 SHG leaders. The findings indicate that the participants experience empowerment as solidarity and collective power that manifest in the form of self-reliance, courage, and independence.
News and commentary on Women’s Groups
Saving More by Changing Gender Roles in Uganda
In a podcast series called the "Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women", host Reena Ninan goes to Uganda, where a group of women are saving money—and participating in a pilot program called “Household Dialogues” from the nonprofit CARE, where they’re attending a form of couples counseling.
Securing Land Rights for Female Farmers in India
Tetra Tech’s Thais Bessa shares how a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and PepsiCo is supporting female farmers to gain access to land and farming skills to play active and productive roles in the potato supply chains in West Bengal, India.
Odisha partners with UN WFP to empower, support women through self-help groups
The Odisha government and United Nations World Food Programme have joined hands to improve household food and nutritional security by strengthening livelihood initiatives and reaching out to thousands of state-supported Women’s Self-Help Groups.
Village Savings: Rural Women Share Over N3.7m Loan
Rural women have shared over N3.7m loan through the Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) scheme in Dambam and Gamawa Local Government Areas of Bauchi State.
CARE Commits $130M to Work Towards SDG5: Gender Equality at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris
CARE has announced a commitment to invest $100 million to support 10 million women and girls as leaders through savings and solidarity groups - or Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) - as part of the Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition.
Unfettering Microfinance: Recent RBI Consultative Document frees MFIs from shackles imposed by 2011 regulations
The recent Consultative Document by RBI relaxes restrictions on MFIs imposed by the 2011 regulations and gives them a level-playing field, which was so far available only to non-MFIs.
Savings for Transformation (S4T) eWorkshop
Date: August 11-November 21, 2021
The S4T eWorkshop is a 14-week facilitated online learning programme. Designed to support practitioners whilst implementing their programmes, the workshop steps participants through the key phases of S4T using case studies, reflection on practice and group work, drawing on the experience of its participants and guided by leading S4T experts. In addition, the learning community provides “just in time” peer to peer support to practitioners implementing S4T.