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Inspiring Women: Experimental Evidence on Sharing Entrepreneurial Skills in Rural Uganda


  • Researchers:
    • Patrick Lubega, Frances Nakakawa, Gaia Narciso and Carol Newman

  • Partners:
    • Irish Aid and Higher Education Research and Institution. This project is part of NOURISH, Nutrition and Treatment Outcome: Development of a Ugandan-Irish HIV/Nutrition Research Cluster.

  • Location:
    • Uganda

  • Sample:
    • 2,121 Women in 16 HIV clinics in rural areas

  • Timeline:
    • 2012-2016

  • Theme:
    • Role Models

  • Description:
    • This project investigates the impact of an entrepreneurship skills sharing intervention using role models on the empowerment and livelihoods of women living with HIV in rural Uganda. In a randomized control trial, participants in the treatment group were exposed to the screening of four 3-minute videos of inspiring women, i.e. women living in similar situations to the women in the study. In the videos, each of the inspiring women tells their story of the difficulties and rewards of setting up a business. The videos encompass personal stories along with practical advice on setting up and running a business. The four videos were screened at HIV clinics over the space of one year. Participants in the control group were (shown a different video?). The project provides evidence that the role models intervention has a positive effect on the probability of starting a business, personal income and income from enterprises and crops. Higher personal incomes lead to an increase in control over personal resources in the treatment clinics relative to the control. This has knock-on effects for the health of women and children and reduces the probability that children are absent from school. Moreover, the role models intervention affected informal savings of women. The latter two findings suggest that this simple, cost effective and easily scalable intervention could have long term effects on welfare outcomes. The findings show that providing vulnerable women with role models that empower them to start their own enterprise activities may be very effective in improving welfare outcomes.

      The videos are available here:

      Video 1:

      Video 2:

      Video 3:

      Video 4: