Landscaping of Women’s Groups and Women Empowerment Collectives in Nigeria

The study was undertaken by Ipsos Nigeria and Plan International with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide a comprehensive baseline landscape of women’s groups and Women Empowerment Collectives in Nigeria. This research project focuses primarily on women’s economic collectives in their various forms and provides a more detailed understanding of their creation, function and scope.

Landscaping of Women’s Groups and Women Empowerment Collectives in Nigeria

The study also collected secondary data from different entities working with groups in Nigeria i.e., government, development partners and civil society organisations. A provisional list of organisations/entities was developed and was contacted to provide data about the groups they support, their locations and the models they use.


Further, primary research was conducted to eliminate the various limitations (access to the data, availability, and quality of data) encountered during the secondary data collection. A mixed-method approach was adopted, and this included the listing of groups, geolocation mapping, group member interviews, and key informant interviews (KIIs). As part of the primary data collection 6,807 groups were listed in 60 selected Local Government Areas (LGAs) of 12 states. Out of the listed groups 2,058 group leaders and 4,072 group members were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Additionally, key informant interviews were conducted with the key actors and 40 group leaders. Wherever possible, an attempt has been made to disaggregate data based on
the locations, group leader gender, years of existence, etc.

A total of 45,309 groups (38,502 groups from secondary data and 6,807 groups from primary data) were identified in Nigeria. The findings highlighted that out of these 45,309 groups, 82% were from the northern regions, compared to 18% from the southern regions. This was due to the higher number of groups reported in the northern regions by organisations sharing their data as part of the secondary data collection. The large majority of group leaders (84%) were female, averaging 42 years of age. There were some interesting findings with respect to the education levels of group members. It was found
that one-third (35%) of the members completed secondary education followed by primary education (17%). This could imply that the education levels in the groups could possibly support more effective layering of members and groups.

The findings showed that the groups were predominantly female and (surprisingly) large with on average 45 members in a group. The primary data indicated that groups were predominantly self-forming and long-lasting with many groups already in existence for more than10 years. Members tended to be older than 25 with the bulk of the members being married. Significantly, 30% of them reported that they were the heads of households. The qualitative data pointed out that most groups were either registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), or State Government Cooperatives, or with both. Many groups had rules and regulations; however, when it comes to tasks such as admitting new members, enrolments were handled by the group leaders/chairpersons in almost half of the groups. This could mean that the chair needs to be persuaded if any new innovations are to be introduced to the group.