Investing in Women Micro-Entrepreneurs in Nigeria: Evaluation of Program Variations on Women’s Business Profitability and Sustainability
Women for Women International has been implementing the Stronger Women Stronger Nations program in Nigeria since 2000. In collaboration with Tufts University, Women for Women International conducted a 39-month randomized control trial in Bauchi and Plateau states, Nigeria from 2018 to 2021. This study measured the impacts of village savings and loans associations (VSLAs) and post-program group mentorship on program participants’ economic and business outcomes.
The research found that the addition of VSLAs and Group Mentorship to the Stronger Women’s Stronger Nation’s program increased women’s earnings significantly. Participation in one or both program variations also led to significant increases in women’s access to credit and loan repayment rates, modified savings behaviors, and changes in their ways of working through diversification of income-generating activities, increases in hours worked, and improved marketing behaviors.
This study partially took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and the endline data collection was delayed 13 months to reduce the risk of spreading the virus through research activities. The findings demonstrate that the sustained impact of these interventions on resilience through major shock and the power of bundled approaches for women entrepreneurs in areas affected by conflict and instability.
This study further provides evidence for Women for Women International’s use of a gender-transformative graduation approach improve economic outcomes for women. Our approach can help women improve and maintain their businesses despite global shocks, poverty, conflict, and gender inequality. With the stronger foundation from knowledge, skills, and support, women change their ways of working to build self-sufficiency, financial stability, and business growth.
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This impact evaluation is a collaborative project between Dr. Jenny Aker and Megan Rounseville, Tufts University, and Women for Women International. The research team thanks the participants of this study for sharing their experiences and time, the program implementation staff, and the data collection team, Hanovia Limited.
This research was funded by the Nielsen Foundation, BlackRock, and private donors. The views expressed in the linked documents are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Nielsen Foundation, BlackRock, or Tufts University.