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wings plus model
women's income-generating support


In 2009, AVSI Foundation launched an innovative project to help improve the well-being of the most vulnerable women in Northern Uganda through private funding, with additional funds provided later by the World Bank. The project, Women’s Income Generating Support (WINGS), was an opportunity to critically assess the effectiveness of AVSI’s approach to economic strengthening for women and children within a post-conflict setting. WINGS had 1,800 participants in 120 villages over two districts, Gulu and Kitgum districts. The main goal of WINGS was to promote holistic empowerment of women and children, also contributing to the understanding of what works, why and for whom. 

The core WINGS program had three components: 

   1. 4 days of business skills training (BST) delivered by AVSI         
        Community-Based Trainers (CBT);
   2. An individual start-up grant of roughly $150 once a business plan
        had been prepared and vetted by the CBT; and
   3. Regular follow-up by CBT for a total of 12 months.

According to the cross-cutting design of the research, participants might have also participated in: 

   4. Group formation, training and self-support; and 
   5. Spousal inclusion, communications training and support. 


The WINGS model has evolved over the past decade through evidence-based adaptive learning. Since 2009, the WINGS model has been implemented by AVSI in some version in four different projects across Uganda. The original model focused on economic strengthening, and the results from a randomized control trial (RCT) showed positive outcomes in increased cash earnings, savings and consumption. However, these economic gains did not translate into other measures of well-being, empowerment, and improved mental health. Thus, to address this gap, the WINGS model was modified to include social asset strengthening. Below is a summary of the evolution of the model and cost. 

  1. WINGS – Northern Uganda, early recovery period, 2009-2012 (private funding)

     ● Economic Strengthening package + other features tested
     ● Cost: $250 per participant for 1 year 

  2. SCORE – across 35 districts of Uganda, including Northern Uganda, development period, 2011-2018, USAID 

     ● Economic Strengthening package embedded within OVC care and support and linkage to HIV services + DREAMS add-on activities
     ● Cost: average $281 per HH per year for least 3 years, up to 5 years ($76 per OVC per year)

3. SKY – across 30 districts of Uganda, including Northern Uganda, development period, December 2015- December 2020, Dutch Government Funded 

     ● Youth-focused, private sector-led model, focused exclusively on apprenticeship and entrepreneurship, including piloting and refining the “Earn as you learn” model
     ● Cost: $175 – $810 per participant for the entire project period (3-year average participation by each household)

4. Graduating to Resilience, in one district of Uganda, Western region, including refugee settlement, USAID (Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance)

      ● Comprehensive resilience-building package, including Economic Strengthening as core, embedded with nutrition and food security 
      ● Cost: average $400 per HH per year over a fixed period of 2.5 years


summary results of the wings plus model

The original WINGS model showed promising financial results: beneficiaries doubled their earnings, savings tripled on average, and household spending increased 33%. However, these economic gains did not affect non-economic measures such as health, empowerment, and child well-being. Consecutively, by adding a social assets intervention, the WINGS Plus Model has shown promising results reflected in the overall well-being of AGYW and children. The table below shows some key outcomes of the models.

description of the wings plus model

Goal: economically empowered adolescent girls and young women and their partners