From the ECWG Team
Implementing women’s group programs at scale:
Implications for costs and cost-effectiveness
The development community is increasingly recognizing the need to integrate robust implementation research with impact evaluations to apply their lessons to decisions about scaling up pilot interventions. Research also has demonstrated the implications of program scale-up for implementation quality and program impacts. For example, studies have shown that many successful pilot interventions fail to produce similar impacts when scaled up, owing to multiple reasons. The decision to invest in a program, however, is guided by both program effectiveness as well as the cost of producing those effects, making it imperative to understand the implications of program scale for costs. This webinar will include two studies that demonstrate costs of scaled-up livelihoods and health interventions, delivered through women’s group programming. The session will specifically explore 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.
Speakers: Dr Hassan Haghparast-Bidgoli, UCL’s Institute for Global Health; Dr. Garima Siwach, American Institutes for Research; Dr. Fred Matovu, School of Economics, Makerere University; Ms. Jacqueline Naggayi Mukisa, PROFIRA, a Government of Uganda initiative
CALLS FOR ABSTRACTS
Examining the Potential of Cooperatives and
Collectives to Manage Risk and Improve Equity in
Contemporary Food Systems
We seek to increase our understanding of how delivering agricultural development interventions and services via group-based mechanisms affects the welfare and resilience of small-scale producers and food systems. We also seek to shed light on how group structure and activity interact with underlying social and cultural dynamics to affect farmer outcomes. From a government or funder perspective, group-based delivery of services offers the promise of economies of scale and the ability to reach larger numbers of individuals. From a farmer's perspective, groups may provide resources, knowledge, and mutual support that are otherwise difficult to access. Groups may be particularly important as a venue for women to engage in collective action that can stimulate economic and social empowerment. But groups can be exclusionary as well as inclusionary, privileging the participation of some individuals over others if groups primarily rely on bonding as opposed to bridging social capital. Group-based approaches can also impose transactions costs and reduce efficiency. We seek to better understand a range of outcomes associated with participation in agriculture-based group membership and activities, including how group participation affects agricultural production, household welfare including consumption smoothing, women’s empowerment, and the functioning of local food markets. We are interested in different types of groups: externally versus internally organized groups, gender-mixed or segregated groups; and multi-functional groups versus groups focused on specific facets of production. Our goal is to build a knowledge base on the trade-offs between the group and individual delivery of agricultural interventions and the circumstances under which groups improve individual welfare, women’s empowerment, and food system resilience.
See here for more details
Women's Groups and Member Resilience after COVID-19: Evidence from Nigeria
Women for Women International (WfWI) works with groups of marginalized women in conflict-affected countries to help them move from poverty and isolation to self-sufficiency and empowerment in economic and social domains. The Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups (ECWG) collaborated with WfWI to study the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on WfWI’s members and to explore the role of women’s savings groups in providing resilience against the shocks induced by COVID-19. The study analyzed self-reported data collected in May 2020 through surveys with a convenience sample of past (or graduated) and current members of WfWI’s Stronger Women Stronger Nations Program. Findings indicate that membership in Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) was positively associated with some outcomes of economic resilience during COVID-19. Additionally, current program members fared much better on most economic and social outcomes, compared to graduated members, which is likely due to stronger support networks.
Implications of Scale for Program Costs and Cost-Effectiveness: Evidence from JEEViKA – the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project
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.
From our Partners
Campbell Collaboration presents
What Works Global Summit 2021: Evidence for Development (18-27 Oct, 2021)
It is over 15 years that the Center for Global Development asked When Will We Ever Learn?, pointing out that billions of dollars are spent each year on development programmes of unknown effectiveness. Since then, there is a growing body of evidence about what works. And that evidence shows that a large proportion of development interventions are ineffective. The availability of this growing body of evidence worldwide is welcome. But there are still major challenges.
The 'What Works Global Summit 2021: Evidence for Development' takes up these challenges and the ECWG will organize a panel on women’s groups during the conference. The panel will include presentations about the impact of 1) women’s groups in Uganda, 2) the impact of adolescent girls’ groups, 3) the impact of integrated economic and health interventions, and 4) evidence from past shocks on women’s group activities and the extent to which women’s groups mitigate the effects of shocks on members and communities.
To stay up to date with news and highlights, please follow @WWGS2021 on Twitter.
Our “5 Minutes of Inspiration” series, of which, one of our most recent posts was on Women Respond
The Women (in VSLAs) Respond sub-initiative focuses on how women and girls in Village Savings & Loan Associations (VSLAs) in Burundi, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Uganda are responding, and is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Well before COVID-19 arrived, women in VSLAs in these six countries were already coping with political disruption, climate shocks, social unrest and challenges to livelihood. VSLAs have become a positive force during these challenging times and during this pandemic. Savings group members are showing community leadership, sharing important health messages and re-focusing finances to adapt to the crisis.
©Gates Archive/Saumya Khandelwal
Recent research on women’s groups
Women establish about half of the world's population and constitute a significant part of the workforce. Women's empowerment is considered as an entry point for women's integration and inclusion into development. Economic independence is recognized as the key to women's empowerment. Economic independence provides women with autonomy in other aspects of their life. By organizing them into groups and providing financial freedom by enhancing the livelihood of women, cooperatives are playing an essential role in the empowerment of women. In the last two decades, self-help group (SHGs) has evolved as an informal form of cooperative and has played a very important role in women empowerment.
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.
The aim of the paper was to determine the effect of training as function of social enterprise on women empowerment in Mandera County. The study was informed by social learning theory. The study used a descriptive research design to help in indicating trends in attitudes and behaviors and enable generalization of the findings of the research study to be done. This study targeted 82 women groups with social enterprises in Mandera County. Simple random sampling was used to obtain 45 women groups, while purposive sampling was used to select three members from each women group giving a total sample size of 132 respondents. Structured questionnaire was used to collect primary data. The study adopted both quantitative and qualitative approaches, employing both descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. The findings revealed that training has a positive influence on women empowerment in Mandera County. Specifically, social enterprises have afforded women access to opportunities that have contributed to their empowerment. Also, women have acquired better financial management skills and entrepreneurial skills to catalyze their empowerment. The study recommended for social enterprises should nurture entrepreneurial skills, technological skills and better financial management skills among women.
Owing to its flexibility, its ability to reach largely excluded populations, and the minimum costs required for its implementation, the savings group model has undergone many developments and innovations. Some of these developments that are touched on in this thesis include linking SGs to formal financial institutions, using SGs to deliver other development initiatives, and engaging men in SGs. Because SGs are intended to be autonomous, some of these developments, like linking SGs to formal financial institutions, may influence the group’s financial operations. Moreover, using SGs to deliver other development initiatives raises questions as to whether this would not divert the groups from their core saving and borrowing activities (Mersland & Eggen, 2007). Finally, the inclusion of male 4 members may have an effect on the way men and women interact in groups. Drawing on these innovations, this thesis aims to shed light on the performance of savings groups. Specifically, we delve into the following research questions: How do linkages with formal financial institutions influence the performance of savings groups? How does financial education delivered through savings groups influence the performance of these groups? What impact does male membership have on savings groups’ profit-generating capacity?
In this present study to know the business performance and constraints of Kamdhenu Women Self Help of village Baronda Bazar, Tehsil & District Mahasamund of Chhattisgarh state. Total of 12 women are working under the self-help group (SHG) whose contributions are in the production of vermicompost. The Self-Help Group production of vermicompost product was 900qlt/year. The SHG works for the vermicompost production process of the GNY scheme. The President, Secretary and members are doing different types of works in the production of vermicompost product. The illiteracy rate of selected members was 58%, the majority of the respondents in the study area belonged to the age between 30 to 40 years. Major production constraints were found in garret score order of their rank priority in selected Women SHGs were high production cost, high labour cost, lack of raw material availability and lack of product quality. Major marketing constraints were found in garret score order of their rank priority in selected Women SHGs was late payment clearing by a co-operative society, lack of marketing coordination with co-operative society, no selling of worms in the market, lack of marketing skills depends only on co-operative society.
Watershed is a geo hydrological unit that drains to a common point in the drainage system. It is surrounded by a ridge line which ends at the common draining point encircling the watershed. Smaller watersheds are called micro watersheds which covering an area between 500 – 1500 hector, with an average area of 1000 hector. Watershed Management is an integrated approach for the development of abiotic and biotic components within the watershed area. It involves optimum utilization of natural resources for overall development. It includes natural resource management, soil and water conservation, employment generation, erosion control, agricultural improvement, community mobilization etc. In India now emphasis is given on micro level planning. It is considered as the best fitted regional planning machinery. As micro watershed holds smaller area so it is treated as an ideal unit of micro level planning. India is a developing country. About 70% population live in rural areas with agriculture as the prime occupation. So for overall development of this country, there need the development of rural areas at first. Rural development is a process to improve the economic and social life of rural people particularly the rural poor. It aims at improving the well being and self realization of people of rural area through collective process. Rural development process brings change among rural community from traditional way of living towards progressive living. It is a dynamic process which includes agricultural development, infrastructural development, village industrial development, employment generation, women empowerment, economic improvement, social development and cultural development. Thus rural development is the process of improving the living standard of masses of low income population of rural areas and making the processes of development self-sustained. On the other hand aquatic resource play an important role in case of water, food and other aquatic product supply. Watershed management in rural areas sometime play this kind of role. Integrated watershed development and management program is the current thrust of rural development planning in India. It also fulfills the basic needs of rural development phenomena like – agricultural development, rural industrialization, employment generation, poverty alleviation, rural infrastructural development, women empowerment, social mobilization etc. Thus it is said that micro watershed management helps in rural development. In this paper, an attempt has been made to show the impacts of Mokata micro watershed project of Ausgram – II block of in East Burdwan district on rural development particularly in case of agriculture, employment, infrastructure, education, women empowerment, people’s participation, animal husbandry, income generation, migration, SHG formation, health etc. This paper also helps us to know about some present problems of the study area. Some suggestions have been also made for further development of the rural life.
News and commentary on Women’s Groups
Since November 2020, through the training given to the farmers, the farmers’ association using VSLA, has improved the attitude of savings and financial management in their businesses. The association has also helped farmers build skills in entrepreneurship.
The Reserve Bank of India notified the enhancement of collateral free loans to self-help groups (SHGs) from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).
The Yensore programme seeks to empower local communities, and it is a partnership of five (5) non-governmental organisations (NGOs) — Wacam, CARE International in Ghana, Civic Response, Kasa Initiative Ghana and United Civil Society Organisation for National Development (UCSOND).
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.