This study shows the potential of Self Help Groups (SHGs) to deliver health messages that increase women’s knowledge. The intervention for this operations research (OR) study included a day-long training for Swasth Sakhis in the experimental area. A total of 11 trainings were organized, all conducted by Population Council staff. Before the intervention, at baseline, 803 women from eligible households were interviewed for the quantitative assessment. At endline, 470 women were followed up. Additionally, 16 in-depth interviews with women, Swasth Sakhis, and Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana staff were conducted in the experimental area to understand how the intervention was working. A total of 30 SHG meetings were observed. Findings indicate SHG’s usefulness in delivering health messages, as net changes in women’s knowledge were significant for most health messages. In a sample of study participants who delivered a child within two months prior to endline, a higher percentage of women from the experimental area correctly practiced maternal and newborn health behaviors compared to their counterparts in the control area. For most maternal and newborn health topics, the net change in knowledge from baseline to endline was statistically higher in the experimental area than in the control, confirming the intervention’s effectiveness.
Mozumdar, Arupendra, M.E. Khan, and Subrato Mondal. 2014. "Reaching the unreached through community mobilization in an innovative and sustainable way." New Delhi: Population Council.