This study, using data collected as part of an ongoing programme evaluation, investigates whether participation in Saving Groups (SGs)-a community-owned microfinance intervention focused on poor households - is associated with maternal health service utilisation, and whether this association is mediated by women's agency - as measured by self-efficacy and decision-making autonomy. This study suggests that the impact of SG membership on use of maternal health services goes beyond improvements in household income and may operate through women's agency by giving women the ability to realize their preference for quality health care.


  1. Noorani QA, Azam I, Shaikh BT, Ranasinghe T, Abbas S, Wali S, Rippey P, Javed W. Role of community based savings groups (CBSGs) enhancing the utilization of community midwives in chitral district of Pakistan. BMC pregnancy and childbirth. 2013 Dec 1;13(1):185.

  2. Gingrich CD. Community-based savings and credit cooperatives in Nepal: A sustainable means for microfinance delivery?. Journal of Microfinance/ESR Review. 2004;6(1):3.

  3. Kesanta J, Andre B. Impact of women empowered through community savings groups on the wellbeing of their families: a study from Mgubwe, Tanzania. Interdisciplinary Journal of Best Practices in Global Development. 2015;1(1):4.


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