How Self Help Groups Strengthen Resilience: Tackling Food Security in Protracted Crises

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) investigated the effect SHGs have on building resilience and food security in chronic crises and found that they were very effective when coping with idiosyncratic shocks in SNNPR, Ethiopia. Covariate shocks were more complicated, because in those cases the entire community suffered and often members diversified their incomes with climate- dependent initiatives. More emphasis on disaster risk management is recommended. SHGs acted as an excellent grassroots form of social protection (protecting, preventing, promoting, and transforming communities), and they liberated members from exploitative lenders and debt traps. SHGs were not a replacement for formal social protections but a great complement; they should be explicitly linked together more. SHGs were also an effective tool for women’s empowerment, though within a five year time frame they did not radically change entrenched gender dynamics within society. 

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