Detail of money and hands
Photo by: Poul Henningsen

The Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) reports an increase of both income and well-being among persons with disabilities that have benefitted from the iSAVE Programme.

Since 2010 the Norwegian Association of Disabled (NAD) has cooperated with the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) to ensure evidence-based results of their economic empowerment programmes. From 2013 to 2016 NHH performed a study on the inclusive microfinance programme in Uganda, now known as iSAVE. This study evaluated the impact of iSAVE, focusing on the We Can Manage-saving groups, which is targeting disabled people in rural Uganda.

The study by NHH involved around 1900 villagers from 75 villages in Manafwa, in Eastern Uganda. A baseline was conducted in 2013, and these villages were subsequently randomized into a treatment group, where the programme is implemented, and to a control group, where the implementation of the programme is delayed until after the endline survey, in 2016.

The preliminary results indicate strong evidence for the iSAVE programme having a positive effect on group members’ economic empowerment and wellbeing. The programme has led to an increase in income, happiness and optimism. For instance, 37 percent of the beneficiaries of iSAVE report that their incomes are now higher than three years earlier – before the iSAVE programme.

iSAVE has contributed to an increase in the level of saving and in agricultural assets as well as in household assets, such as shoes and new clothes. It has also led to an improvement in their diets, as measured by frequency of meat and fish consumption. 34 percent of iSAVE beneficiaries report a higher level of wellbeing than three years earlier.

More details from the Manafwa Study will be shared once the NHH working paper is finalized later in 2017.