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                                       Wednesday, May 25, 2022 8:00 am - 09:30 am EST

(Starts at 5:30 pm in India and Sri Lanka, 5:45 pm in Nepal, 5:00 pm in Pakistan and Maldives, 6:00 pm in Bangladesh and Bhutan, 4:30 pm in Afghanistan)

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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), the webinar will present findings from three streams of work supported by the South Asia Gender Innovation Lab.

  • A typology of women’s groups in South Asia with a particular focus on the design frameworks, implementation modalities, and composition of groups.
  • Findings from a recent systematic review that assesses the impacts of SHG interventions on women’s economic participation and empowerment outcomes in South Asia.
  • Implementation and design experiences from the Strengthening Afghan Women’s Economic Empowerment Project (SWEEP) in Afghanistan.
SHG Typology Webinar Panelists



Thomas De Hoop (Presenter)

Program Area Lead, Food Security, Agriculture and Nutrition, American Institutes for Research

Thomas de Hoop is a Principal Economic Researcher in the International Development Division at American Institutes for Research (AIR). He oversees a research and evaluation portfolio with a focus on the impact, scalability, and cost-effectiveness of self-help groups, savings groups, and education innovations in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. He is currently the co-principal investigator for the Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups (ECWG), a four-year research project that focuses on synthesizing, strengthening, and disseminating research on the impact, and cost-effectiveness of self-help and savings groups. As part of the ECWG, Thomas leads or co-leads studies on the impact of COVID-19 on the functioning of women’s groups and how SHGs in India and savings groups in Nigeria and Uganda contribute to mitigating the economic consequences of COVID-19. He is also the principal investigator for a three-year quasi-experimental study of the Nigeria for Women Project.


Sapna Desai (Presenter)

Associate, Population Council

Sapna Desai is an Associate at the Population Council in New Delhi, India. As co-principal investigator of the Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups, she works on examining typologies and implementation processes associated with women’s groups in different settings, along with an evidence synthesis on the effects of integrated economic and health programs with women’s groups. She also co-leads a project to synthesize evidence, theory, and field experience to develop mid-range theories on how women’s group improve health outcomes in India. Previously, Sapna worked with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), India’s largest union of women workers in the informal economy, to scale up health interventions integrated with organizing, finance and livelihoods programs in rural and urban settings.


Amna Javed (Presenter)

Economist Consultant, World Bank Group

Amna Javed is a World Bank Consultant at the South Asia Gender Innovation Lab. Her research focuses on the intersection of applied development economics with gender. Some of the topics she has studied include violence against women, early marriage, fertility, and economic empowerment. An Economist by training, Amna received her master’s and PhD from the University of Oregon.


Sarah Haddock (Presenter)

Senior Social Development Specialist, World Bank Group

Sarah is a Senior Social Development Specialist, supporting country programs in SAR, including for Afghanistan and Nepal. Sarah brings 18+ years of experience working on gender and youth inclusion and women’s economic empowerment programming and evaluation. Sarah joined the World Bank in 2010, first working in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Poverty and Gender unit before joining the Global Gender Group in 2012. Prior to that she was a researcher at Population Action International, where she focused on youth sexual and reproductive health and rights. Sarah holds an MA in development economics and international monetary theory and policy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.


Najla Sabri (Discussant)

Social Development Specialist, World Bank Group

Najla Sabri is a Social Development Specialist and the Gender Focal Person for the Afghanistan Country Office at the World Bank. She is co-leading the Afghanistan Gender and Social Inclusion Platform and she is engaged with a number of operations in Afghanistan as core-task team members. Her areas of focus have been addressing gender gaps in different sectors, social inclusion, project management, rural development, women’s economic empowerment, and building capacity of government institutions and professionals on gender related work. Before joining the World Bank, Najla worked at the European Union Special Representative’s Office for Afghanistan (EUSR), and the Embassy of Sweden in Islamabad. Najla has a master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Oregon, United States, through the Fulbright Program.


Soumya Kapoor Mehta (Moderator)

Senior Social Development Specialist, World Bank Group

Soumya Kapoor Mehta is a Senior Social Development at the World Bank. She has over 18 years of experience in the development sector, spanning research around gender, women’s empowerment, poverty reduction strategies, social inclusion challenges, and policy levers to alleviate them around the world. Prior to her current position, she was the head of Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE) and led IWWAGE’s efforts to generate, leverage, and synthesize evidence on women’s economic empowerment. Soumya has a Tripos Degree from the University of Cambridge in Economics and a BA (Hons.) in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. She has also been a Visiting Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.