Self Help Group’s Effects on Women’s Empowerment
Self Help Group (SHG) programs among women have played a pivotal role in the Global South as a cost-effective mechanism to provide financial services to unreached poor, as well as to strengthening women’s socio-economic capacities. Wales and Deshmukh (2011) suggest that SHG is instrumental to women’s empowerment and rural entrepreneurship, which brings individual and collective empowerment through improvement in both condition and position of women. SHGs provide trainings on various income generating skills as well as facilities the formation of social capital. Moreover, SHGs intend to increase self-confidence as well as self-awareness.
In Nepal, SHGs have taken the form of mothers’ groups or women groups. During the past three decades – helped partly by government agencies and non-governmental agencies, and partly on their own initiatives, women have formed mothers’ groups or women groups. Using survey data, this study will explore whether there is significant association between women joining savings group and the empowerment among women. In addition, it will explore the relationship between SHG and various dimensions of empowerment.
The term empower has different meanings depending upon different sociocultural and political contexts. For instance, Yadav and Rodriques (2014) define women empowerment as increase in spiritual, political, social, and economic strength of women. Amratya Sen (1985) emphasizes on the significance of substantive freedom and individual freedom to choose and achieve different outcomes. Thus, various scholars have measured empowerment in various ways via defined indicators.
The paper intends to use Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), to measure empowerment in five domains, including decisions about agriculture production, access and ownership of productive resources, control over income, leadership in the community, and time use. The findings of this paper could shed light on the effect of SHG participation upon various empowerment indicators. This endeavor could help design more effective and sustainable women’s empowerment intervention program in Nepal.
The analysis will be undertaken by analyzing the raw data of a study called “Evaluation of the Welfare Impacts of a Livestock Transfer Program in Nepal”. In particular, it attempts to examine both the 2014 baseline and 2016 midline survey data of the affore-mentioned study. Through randomized control trial (RCT) design, the baseline and mid-line survey collected data from 3,300 households spread across seven districts i.e., Dhading, Mahottari, Nuwakot, Palpa, Rautahat, Sarlahi, and Tanahun. The asset transfer program was designed to empower women through the formation of SHG (social capital) and also through imparting goats (physical capital) and skills (human capital). The survey questionnaire was designed to capture the five basic domains informed under WEAI.