A list of publications from research on Rojiroti's work can be found below.
The well-being of children needs to be an outcome of any poverty focused development. Malnutrition is common in children in rural Bihar and between 15 and 20% are 'wasted' (i.e. their weight for height is more than two standard deviations below normal). Wasted children are at least three times more likely to die than their better nourished peers.
A large clinical trial led by the University of Nottingham investigated the impact of innovative Rojiroti microfinance on child nutrition using a randomised control trial to compare 2064 children. The team of researchers randomised village communities either to receive immediate offers of Rojiroti help to facilitate the formation of self help groups and subsequent access to microfinance, or to wait 18 months for this input. They then weighed and measured the children after 18 months (before the second group received microfinance). Findings published in the British Medical Journal showed that the children in the Rojiroti group had significantly better weight for height, weight for age and mid upper arm circumference following the trial. Significantly fewer were wasted or underweight.
We were particularly pleased to see these results, firstly, as this is the first clinical trial worldwide to evaluate the effects of microfinance on child nutrition. The evidence also suggests that Rojiroti microfinance is helping very poor families in Bihar to protect children from shocks – whether these affect their communities (e.g. climate change) or shocks such as ill health or job losses that are specific to their families.
This article explores the role of Rojiroti's women group leaders in supporting social change. Through interviews and focus group discussions, it finds that Rojiroti’s women leaders were motivated to become leaders to create better opportunities for their families and communities, and that they lead in line with frameworks of transformative leadership by supporting relationship building, by facilitating and guiding knowledge transfer and by providing space for reflection and skills for action. In particular their situated knowledge, due to being from the communities they serve, was essential for inspiring shared vision for challenging unequal power relations.
This doctoral thesis explored whether Rojiroti’s distinct operating mechanisms have enabled positive changes for its women members. It aims to do this through looking at girls’ education, recognising that changes in girls’ education could be indicative of more widespread and longer-term shifts in gender equality.
Findings demonstrate that Rojiroti’s low interest rates and flexible repayment mechanisms had particularly supported women to build up financial resources, which they then used to support girls’ education. Rojiroti’s focus on group cohesion and solidarity, and the fact it was predominantly women-led, led to increased social resources, and individual and collective agency that contributed to women’s increased ability to take decisions to support girls’ education and to challenge inequality in their homes and communities. Significant for those involved in microfinance, it appears that Rojiroti’s deep understanding of the context, and flexibility to adapt to the needs of its members, enabled positive change.
This article uses a quasi-experimental design with panel data and matched control sites and finds a significant reduction in levels of domestic violence among women members of Rojiroti, alongside a significant increase in asset ownership and knowledge of household finances. It argues that Rojiroti has a number of unique features which make a positive impact on domestic violence more likely.
This article provides a detailed account of the Rojiroti model for establishing women’s self-help groups (SHGs) and enabling them to access microfinance. It also analyses panel data of 740 new SHG members and 340 women in matched control sites finding significant gains for Rojiroti members in assets, children’s education and domestic violence among other indicators. Comparison with longer-standing SHGs (36 months plus) also demonstrates how the borrowing patterns Rojiroti members evolve.
Reports to Rojiroti field workers from self-help group members indicate they experience a decline in domestic violence as they access microfinance that leads to livelihood improvement for their whole households. But this contradicts much of the existing literature on this topic. This article reports on a detailed analysis of this literature and focus group discussions with members of 16 Rojiroti self-help groups in July 2015. Its conclusion is that the specific approach to microfinance by Rojiroti is, in its context, successful in reducing rates of domestic violence.
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