generated through both quantitative and qualitative research methods. We believe this study design will enhance the review’s utility and impact for practitioners and policymakers. This approach allowed us to capture a broader range of evidence than a review of quantitative studies alone so that we could answer relevant policy questions more comprehensively. We included studies in the review that fulfilled the following criteria. 3.1.1 Participants SHG participants included women of all ages in low- and middle-income countries, as defined by the World Bank categorization of low- and middle-income countries, at the time the data were collected. Women’s SHGs and SHGs in which participation was either limited exclusively to women or, if this was not the case, in which impacts on women were assessed separately from men, were included. In contrast, studies were excluded in which impacts were not disaggregated by gender and/or self- help groups were comprised exclusively of men. 3.1.2 Interventions: type of women’s self-help group programs We included studies on SHGs in which female participants physically came together and received a collective finance and enterprise and/or livelihoods group intervention: We defined SHGs, also known as mutual aid or support groups, as those groups that involved people who provide support for each other and/or are created with the underlying assumption that when individuals join together to take action toward
overcoming obstacles and attaining social change, individual, and/or collective empowerment can result. We planned to examine those groups that were initiated by an external agency (that is, a development organization or research group) as well as those that had come into existence without any direct external involvement. In practice, however, all included studies focused on groups that were initiated by an external agency.
SHGs needed to receive an economic intervention that included or contained the following components: collective finance and enterprise 1 (such as savings and loans, group credit, collective income-generation, micro-insurance) and/or livelihoods interventions (such as life skills, capacity-building, business training, financial education, labor and trade group organizing). 2 We excluded studies evaluating individual self-help or group programs that were not explicitly designed as self-help programs or did not have a collective finance, enterprise, or livelihoods intervention component. 3.1.3 Outcomes Primary outcomes To be included in the review, studies had to measure at least one of the following empowerment outcomes. 3 Economic empowerment: We defined women’s economic empowerment as the ability of women to access, own, and control resources. It could be measured in a variety of ways, using outcome indicators such as income generation by women, female ownership of assets and land, expenditure patterns, degree of women participation in paid employment, division of domestic labor across men and women, and control over financial decision making by women.
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- Fall '16
- Qualitative Research, SHGs