More than 3,300 women from seven countries have participated in Convoy’s Micro+ program since 2011. This economic empowerment initiative works with women living in extreme poverty and provides materials and training for income-generating activities, life skills coaching, weekly food support, access to savings accounts, and health and nutrition education.
As with all of our international work, we actively monitor and evaluate these projects: The results have been remarkable. A pilot project conducted in the Philippines in 2015 revealed 100% of the participants reported an increase in income and 90% reported a decrease in hunger in their household. That’s why we’re so passionate about projects like Micro+: They enable us to address the underlying issues that will end poverty and hunger in the long run.
In addition to our own evaluations, current research of what works in the global fight against poverty and hunger shows significant positive results. A recent article in Science from Innovations in Poverty Action (IPA)**, a research group at Yale University, also validates our approach with Micro+.
The researchers used a randomized evaluation — similar to medical studies — to test the effect of projects on 10,000 households in six different countries (two of which COH works in). The objective was to give extremely poor families a significant boost out of poverty over a short amount of time. The results showed significant increases in food security, household consumption, physical and mental health, and women’s empowerment. Families continued to see substantial benefits two and three years after the start of the program, meaning they are beginning to break the cycle of poverty.
We are continuing to invest in Micro+ and women’s economic empowerment because we’ve seen the positive results in our own work, and because the approach is being validated through studies by leading academic researchers. Micro+ is lifting women and households out of poverty, which means many families are now able to provide necessary meals for their children. Addressing the root of hunger requires a holistic approach — every investment is making a difference.
**footnote: A multifaceted program causes lasting progress for the very poor: Evidence from six countries. Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Nathanael Goldberg, Dean Karlan, Robert Osei, William Parienté, Jeremy Shapiro, Bram Thuysbaert, and Christopher Udry. Science 15 May 2015: 348 (6236)