This review by Brody and colleaguesexamines the effectiveness of self-help group (SHG) interventions in improving women’s empowerment. These small and voluntary groups aim for social change, often focusing on empowering their members. Economic self-help groups specifically offer women access to collective finance, including savings and loans, group credit, collective income-generation and micro-insurance. The review finds that women’s economic SHGs have a positive, statistically significant effect on women’s economic, social, and political empowerment. However, they were not able to confirm the same result for psychological empowerment. There were also no adverse consequences for domestic violence indicators in the long run. The qualitative synthesis suggests that observed positive effects on empowerment are achieved through various pathways, such as familiarity with handling money, financial decision-making, improved social networks, and respect in the household and/or community. However, despite the encouraging results, there was a lack of participation by the poorest of the poor. The findings indicate that donors can consider funding women’s SHGs to stimulate economic, social, and political empowerment. It is less clear whether there would be an effect on psychological empowerment. In order to help ensure participation by the poorest of the poor, it may be useful to consider social barriers, such as class or caste to ensure these interventions are inclusive.
The authors of this systematic review assess the effects of gender-specific and transformative interventions on women’s empowerment and gender equality in fragile and conflict-affected states and their contribution to building peaceful and inclusive societies.
In this review, Sonnenfeld and colleagues synthesise evidence on programmes that promote intergroup social cohesion as a means of supporting sustainable peace in fragile communities in low- and middle-income countries.
In this review, Moore and colleagues synthesise available evidence on the effectiveness of electricity interventions on socio-economic outcomes for households, firms and communities in low- and middle- income countries.
This review by Snilsveit and colleagues examines evidence from 18 economic incentives-based payment for environmental services programmes to understand the effectiveness on environmental and socio-economic outcomes.