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University of Notre Dame

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

Uganda: Development Studies


The purpose of this research was to assess the impact of financial Self-Help Groups (SHGs)on poverty alleviation and development in rural areasof Uganda and evaluate their successes, limitations, and potential for sustainability.An extensive literature review ofpovertyin Uganda, development theories and development in Uganda,andrural finance self-help group methodology and theorieswas conducted in order to provide a broader context for the research.

The participants in the research were members of SHGs in Central Uganda under the Self-Help Group Approach Uganda (SHGAU) organization andemployees of SHGAU.The primary methods were personal interviews and focus groups. Thesegave the researcher insight into the goals and structure of SHGAU, insight into the goals, finances, and structure of the SHGs themselves, and allowed the researcher to learn from the rural poor themselves about how the groups benefited them and what problems the groups faced.

The main findings of the research supported the claim that SHGs are very successful in alleviating poverty in rural areas and increasing human development, especially among women. The limitations the groups faced were not so much with the groups themselves, although there may be a few very minor structural problems with the groups, but with outside forces, mostly cultural and economic. Specifically, the Ugandan cultural views of women and the poor economic market situation in Uganda hindered the impact of the groups. Recommendations, therefore, focus mainly on social equality and on a stronger economy that will make it easier for these groups to succeed and facilitate even more poverty alleviation and development.


African Studies | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Economics | Family, Life Course, and Society | Growth and Development | Inequality and Stratification | Place and Environment | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Policy History, Theory, and Methods | Social Welfare | Work, Economy and Organizations


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