Gender equality and women empowerment is the third of the millennium
development goals (MDGs). Along with government and non government
parties, a participatory community approach of the rural women known as
self help groups (SHGs, also known as mother’s group or women’s group)
are working towards achieving the goal. In rural parts of Uganda, such
groups are carrying out various activities that benefit women and
During SHG meetings, women discuss a lot including social control activities like controlling
alcoholism, betting and gambling, advocating for poor and voiceless
women, campaigning against discrimination and superstitious beliefs,
providing skill based trainings to members of SHGs etc.
SHGs members have higher empowerment indicators and higher
income and assets. During a study, it was found that women empowerment is positively
impacted by self help groups. The various activities like rural micro credit reduced the economic dependency of women upon other members
of the family and the trainings and knowledge enabled the women to begin
economic activities. Thus, women could use the fusion of loan and
trainings to improve their livelihood by diversifying their income
sources and reducing dependency.
The meetings and awareness programs
increased the knowledge and experience which led to an increase in the
ability of making quality decisions and ensure participation.
Participating in the social control activities, women were able to
gradually lower the traditional and cultural barriers for participating
in the development process.
The higher empowerment indicators of the SHG
participants as seen in the study suggest that participation speeds up
the empowerment process. It will be too early and immature to conclude
that SHG participation contributes to increase high value assets.
Fig: Women listen to volunteers input during SHG meeting session
Help form a women self help Group