Impacts Before Interventions

Author: Mac Odell


Date 10/08/2005

The Women’s Empowerment Project (WEP) in Nepal performs 6-monthly detailed monitoring studies, confirmed by several external evaluations. This article summarizes some recent findings that confirmed a remarkable 4-fold increase in the number of women with micro enterprises and an 8-fold increase in their gross sales following an AI-based empowerment literacy, savings, and village banking curriculum among 125,000 women in 6,500 economic groups. The most remarkable aspect of this increase was that most of these increases were documented as taking place BEFORE the program introduced their micro enterprise curriculum and training components.

The major factor, in the judgement of field staff trying to explain this phenomenon, was the sharing of success stories among women.

Today, over a year after donor funding for the initiative ceased and Pact’s direct support of these economic groups has wound up, the women themselves have created something like 800-1000 new economic groups with perhaps 20,000 women — again largely using the sharing of success stories as their chosen method for replication.

To date the WEP has won 5 international awards/citations. See the article on the Commons called “Giving Micro-credit Where It’s Due.”

The best overall report on the project, called “Breaking the Mold” is available from Mac Odell at

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