EPAR Technical Report #283
Thu, 12/11/2014
C. Leigh Anderson
Mary Kay Gugerty
Pierre Biscaye
Zoë True
Christopher Clark
Katie Panhorst Harris

Donors and governments are increasingly seeking to implement development projects through self-help groups (SHGs) in the belief that such institutional arrangements will enhance development outcomes, encourage sustainability, and foster capacity in local civil society – all at lower cost to coffers. But little is known about the effectiveness of such institutional arrangements or the potential harm that might be caused by using SHGs as ‘vehicles’ for the delivery of development aid.  This report synthesizes available evidence on the effectiveness of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in promoting health, finance, agriculture, and empowerment objectives in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Our findings are intended to inform strategic decisions about how to best use scarce resources to leverage existing SHG interventions in various geographies and to better understand how local institutions such as SHGs can serve as platforms to enhance investments. 

Suggested Citation:

Anderson, C. L., Gugerty, M. K., Biscaye, P., True, Z., Clark, C., & Harris, K. P. (2014). Self-Help Groups in Development: A Review of Evidence from South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. EPAR Technical Report #283. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, University of Washington. Retrieved <Day Month Year> from https://epar.evans.uw.edu/sites/default/files/epar_283_shg_evidence_review_brief_10.23.20.pdf

A paper drawing on this research has been published in Development Policy ReviewGugerty, Biscaye and Anderson "Delivering development? Evidence on self‐help groups as development intermediaries in South Asia and Africa," 2018.

Type of Research: 
Literature Review
Research Topic Category: 
Finance & Investment
Household Well-Being & Equity
Geographic focus: 
South Asia Region and Selected Countries
Sub-Saharan Africa