Savings and Self Help Groups in Ethiopia
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) compared SHG and Savings Groups (SG) programming by Tearfund, CARE, Oxfam, CST and COSAP in Ethiopia in 2016. The study assessed the outcomes and change pathways of the organizations’ various approaches as well as the impact micro-finance has on the SG/SHGs. They found that many of the household level outcomes are generally positive and similar: they are all reaching the poor, developing social capital, savings culture and growing incomes. More established groups returned larger benefits, because they had more financial and social capital. The main factors for success were group cohesion, social funds, social empowerment and “critical mass”. Women-only SG/SHGs were better for promoting women’s voices, and federated structures gave this voice political weight. ODI found however that linking SG/SHGs to microfinance organizations was risky and that households should not be pushed too quickly towards large or overlapping loans.