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Women’s collective social enterprises (WCEs) offer great potential to create quality employment opportunities while also increasing women’s empowerment and agency. Under the MOVE project, a collaboration of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and Self-employed Women’s Association (SEWA) Bharat, IMAGO Global Grassroots is supporting SEWA Bharat’s implementation of MOVE through an adaptive evaluation which will generate an in-depth understanding of what works and what does not work in supporting women collective enterprises become financially sustainable while scaling their impact.

IMAGO is supporting SEWA’s implementation of the MOVE project through: 

rigorous adaptive evaluation of interventions within SEWA’s accelerator that allows us to know what works and does not work in supporting the financial sustainability and scalability of women’s collective enterprises as well as women’s agency.

A set of protocols and documented processes that SEWA will be able to use beyond the 5 SEs included in the MOVE project.

Robust tracking mechanisms for SEWA to follow incomes and agency data in women collectives, as well as the capacity to guide the necessary organizational shifts for enterprise long-term sustainability.

This collaboration will generate an in-depth understanding of what works and what does not work in supporting women collective enterprises becoming financially sustainable while scaling their impact in SEWA and in India. The lessons learned and specific outputs will be relevant beyond India. 

The project aims to evaluate and learn from Project MOVE: Mahila Udyam Vikas, Testing and Scaling Women’s Collective Enterprises with SEWA, a five-year project supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation (BMGF). The evaluation incorporates a process of adaptive design, that includes an iterative approach in the exploration, design and testing of interventions. This will be undertaken side by side with SEWA’s efforts in the MOVE project to support a subset of their collective SEs with a set of support services akin to a grassroots accelerator. An initial stocktaking of around 140 of SEWA’s SEs confirmed the major challenges they faced. SEWA selected 5 SEs with which to work intensively through a grassroots accelerator-type approach called an Enterprise Support System(ESS). This adaptive evaluation will support the assessment of a set of interventions for these enterprises.

This investment will also support the MOVE project in creating the capacity within SEWA  to be able to apply the ESS to other SEWA SEs as well as to other WCEs. It will do this through producing protocols, documenting interventions, institutionalizing the mentoring process, and developing associated training modules.

To conduct the evaluation, IMAGO is working jointly with IDInsight using a mixed method strategy. The design incorporates tailored base and endlines of the enterprises, their workers, and key stakeholders, plus a central adaptive evaluation phase that will use various rapid assessment techniques to assess interventions that emerge from the prototyping within the accelerator.  Outputs will include an assessment of drivers of behavior and performance of the 5 social enterprises identified by SEWA; an assessment of interventions that work to improve social enterprise performance across the two broad dimensions of financial performance and women’s well-being/agency; and an account of the learning process in adapting accelerator type interventions to the conditions of grassroots collective enterprises.

Bi-Annually Learning Workshops

Given the learning and adaptive nature of this enterprise, a key activity of this collaboration is the development of bi-annual Learning Workshop Series that are organized jointly by SEWA, BMGF and IMAGO. This series has the goal of fostering a community of thinkers and practitioners who can consistently share insights on the Adaptive Evaluation of Project MOVE with Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) Enterprises. 

Each Learning Workshop focuses on a dedicated theme, involving multiple stakeholders to  discuss global and national experiences alongside sharing lessons from and for the evaluation. By synthesizing evidence and learnings from research, policy, and practice, these sessions will enrich our understanding and help disseminate results at the end of the project. The LearningWorkshops will provide us a forum to create a working group of experts from different fields who can provide regular feedback and learn from our journey through the next 4 years. 

Workshop 1:

December 16 & 17, 2020

This first workshop had the form of an open webinar and took place over two days. The first day discussions focused on sharing findings of a forthcoming literature review which reviews frameworks and lessons on collective organizations, women’s agency, and the role of Enterprise Support Systems. Day two was an exploration of the various considerations and challenges in designing adaptive evaluations of Enterprise Support Systems for Social Enterprises. 

To watch the recordings of the first webinar series and access the full report, please click here. 

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