Call for proposals: Qualitative evaluation of the impact of self-help groups on women’s economic and social empowerment in India


Due to the inadequate quality of proposals received, 3ie is not awarding grants at this time. To ensure you are notified in case this call is reissued or new funding opportunities are announced, please subscribe to get funding alerts.  

3ie invited organisations or consortia to submit proposals to conduct two qualitative evaluations under specific research themes on women’s self-help groups in rural India. These studies are expected to inform a large-scale, rigorous impact evaluation of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) programme that 3ie is currently undertaking. The impact evaluation is assessing NRLM’s impact on households and women’s socio-economic and human development outcomes.

To know more about 3ie’s work with the National Rural Livelihoods Mission, visit the programme page.



The studies will examine the role of self-help groups (SHGs) and their federations as institutions for promoting women’s social and economic inclusion and empowerment. The studies can be in any of the nine states that are included in the 3ie-supported impact evaluation. These include: Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

3ie will commission two qualitative studies on the following research themes:
1. The impact of SHGs and their federations on multi-dimensional measures of women’s empowerment.
2. The role of SHG federations, such as village organisations and cluster-level federations, in determining SHG quality and functioning.

For more information about this call, please read the detailed Request for proposals

All key documents required for the application, including the proposal form are available on this page.

This call is now closed and the awards will be announced soon. The deadline for submitting the proposals was 23:59 GMT, 11 January 2019. The deadline for sending queries regarding this request for proposals was 23:59 GMT, 17 December 2018. Where relevant, questions have been edited to anonymise the information shared with 3ie and responses to similar questions have also been combined. 

Download Q&A document

  • Only legally registered organisations and consortia of registered organisations, not individuals, may apply.
  • The research team should include at least one researcher who is an Indian resident. The national researcher must be engaged in substantive tasks like study design, data analysis, report writing and stakeholder engagement for uptake of findings into policy and practice.
  • Organisations may submit more than one proposal and may be included on more than one proposal. They should, however, have the capacity to implement any and all grants awarded to them. Please submit separate proposals for each question.
  • 3ie will provide funding of up to USD 45,000 for each qualitative evaluation, which will be completed within five months.

Qualitative evaluation of the impact of self-help groups on women’s economic and social empowerment in India

The following documents are relevant for submitting the proposals under this call. The deadline for submitting the proposals is 23:59 GMT, 11 January 2019.

Key documents

Request for proposals

Proposal form

Budget template


Grant agreement template

3ie policy documents

Principles of impact evaluation

Human subjects policy

Publication release policy

Research transparency policy

Direct cost policy

Indirect cost policy

Launched in 2011, the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) aims to link the rural poor in India to sustainable livelihood opportunities and financial services. 3ie, in collaboration with Ministry of Rural Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is working to generate rigorous evidence on the impact of this large-scale programme on livelihood promotion and social mobilisation.

In December 2015, 3ie was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for quality assuring and generating evidence on various aspects of the NRLM. We are conducting impacts evaluations, quality assuring selected evaluations on livelihood interventions and synthesising and mapping the available evidence on the effectiveness and efficiency of group-based livelihoods interventions.

Visit the programme page to know about our work on NRLM.