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    Women's savings groups and contraceptive use under Save Program: final report.

    Barkat-e-Khuda; Hadi A; Barkat A

    Bethesda, Maryland, University Research Corporation, 1991 Apr. ix, 77, [20] p. (BAN-14; USAID Contract No. DPE-3030-C-00-5043-00; TvT No. BAN-SAS-04-10)

    Save the Children has a women's savings program (SAVE), which is an integral part of its comprehensive integrated rural development program. Women's savings groups were introduced in Bangladesh on an experimental basis in 1982. Over the years, these indigenous small groups have evolved from simple "savings" groups to dynamic forums to improve women's economic and social horizons and enable them to gain greater control over their lives and those of their children. An operations research study was undertaken, at a cost of US $35,874, to examine and document the impact of womens' savings groups on contraceptive use. The study was undertaken in 8 villages in Nasirnagar Upazila where SAVE programs were in operation: 5 villages where programs were initiated in 1982 (old villages) and 3 villages (new villages) where programs were begun in 1989. 2 comparison villages (without SAVE programs) were also selected at random from among the villages in the same geographic area. The experimental and comparison villages were similar in terms of household size, age, parity, and total fertility of the married women of reproductive age. The study employed a quasi-experimental design. Data were collected using a baseline survey and a mini-contraceptive prevalence survey conducted in both experimental and comparison villages as well as 2 rounds of individual and group interviews with selected savings group members and nonmembers in the experimental villages. Relevant cost data were obtained from SAVE/Dhaka. Selected variables from the SAVE project management information systems (PMIS) were also used for comparison with similar variables obtained in the baseline survey. Womens' savings groups, combined with family planning (FP) motivation, supplies, and services can be an effective strategy of raising contraceptive prevalence in rural Bangladesh. Contraceptive use, both ever and current, was higher in the experimental than in comparison villages and was higher in the old than in the new villages. Contraceptive use was higher among savings group members than among nonmembers, and contraceptive use was higher among the latter group than in the comparison villages, suggesting that the SAVE program helped raise contraceptive use among both members and nonmembers in the project villages. Current use at the baseline among members was 30.9 and 16.9% among members in old and new villages, respectively, and 7.3% in the comparison villages. Among nonmembers, current use was 17.9% in the old villages and 12.9% in the new villages. Current contraceptive use declined from 30.9 to 25.4% in the old villages over the life of the project. One of the main reasons reported for discontinuation was nonavailability of FP methods.
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