Economic Self Help Group Programs for Improving Women’s Empowerment

In their literature review, Brody et al. (2015) explored the impact of SHGs on individual-level empowerment for women in low-and middle-income countries (Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Ethiopia, South Africa and Haiti), using evidence from 23 rigorous quantitative impact evaluations. They also delved into 11 qualitative evaluations on women’s opinions on participation and benefits of SHG membership. Their analysis pointed to positive effects on economic, political and social empowerment. SHGs that incorporated group training on subjects such as health, education and life skills seemed to show the greatest quantitative impacts. They recommended increased focus on bringing the “poorest of the poor” into the fold – many of the poorest women were excluded due to lack of financial resources and/or freedoms. 

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