Empowering the vulnerable communities towards sustainable economic opportunities: Case study of self help groups in south-central Somalia

News and Press Release
Originally published


The DFID funded programme Building Resilient Communities in Somalia (BRCiS II) aims to support and accompany vulnerable Somali communities and systems on their path to restoring and strengthening their resilience to shocks and stresses. Supporting Self Help Groups (SHGs) and Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) has become a component of work under BRCiS, and Concern Worldwide commissioned The Share Trust –to develop a scalable plan for investing in the SHG ecosystem in Somalia by 1) Developing a systems level plan for scaling SHGs in Somalia; and 2) Adapting and scaling the SHG digital platform, developed by Code Innovation, to help scale demand driven SHG growth and facilitation, as well as track and support SHGs as they scale. This case study presented here relate the experience of two women enrolled in the new SHG formed in the urban poor community of Sahan and the agro-pastoral community of Qaranri in Belet Hawa, recently affected by drought and locust infestation in 2019.


Based on an adapted MYRDA model from India, Self-Help Groups (SHGs) provide supportive social networks, personal savings, credit access, and business development for groups of 10-20 women. The activity offers technical trainings, numerous follow-ups, mentoring sessions, and daily literacy classes over nine months. Throughout the process women are empowered to start their own businesses. This platform generates income, diversifies household revenue streams, increases purchasing power, and builds resistance to local shocks and disasters. Beyond their impact on livelihoods, Self Help Groups also promote women empowerment and social equity. The SHG ecosystem in Somalia/Somaliland is large. Recent research in Somalia/Somaliland and the East Africa region emphasizes the need for livelihoods that are diverse in their risk profiles, highly nuanced to the context, as well as connected to other livelihood zones and resource bases. Therefore, livelihoods diversification is important for resilience because if some livelihood activities are harshly affected by a shock, there is still household income and food potential through other sources, thereby reducing households’ vulnerability in the face of shocks