The impact of micro finance on women at household and group levels: a case study of clients of Kabarole Research Centre
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This study explored the impact of micro finance on women at household and group levels. It focused on the beneficiaries of Micro Finance Associations (MFAs). The study intended to examine the nature of services offered by MFAs, assess socio economic impact of MFIs on women clients and examine mechanisms in place to ensure gender sensitivity. It targeted both male and female beneficiaries of KRC-MFAs of Kyarusozi and Nyankwanzi in Kabarole district of over 18 years. The study employed a cross sectional research design so as to generate data from a wide range of respondents. To carry out an effective assessment, the study relied on primary data collected with the use of interview guides and questionnaires, observation method and Focus Group Discussions. Secondary data was also used and composed of documentary review of related literature. Data collected is presented in frequency tables and quotations and are also used to support the interpretation of the findings. The researcher sampled a population of 50 people from the MFA clientele, represented in two MFAs with six groups respectively. Random sampling was used to select the first respondent being, the forth person on the list, then every fourth person along the list until the researcher got the last respondent of the beneficiaries of the MFAs; while purposive sampling was used to select KRC-MFA programme executive and officials. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques were used in data collection. Data was analyzed by editing, coding and cross tabulated according to themes. It was found that MFAs offer a wide range of services to their clients and these include; training, loans, encouraging members to save and buy shares, with emphasis on women membership and leadership. MFA services have had positive socio-economic impacts on women members at household and group levels, for instance: increased income levels, property acquisition, banking services closer to men and women, increased agricultural productivity, employment opportunities and others. The study finally established that KRC-MFAs implemented gender mainstreaming as a cross cutting issue in their practices both at the centre and grass root levels. The study concluded that MFA programme has potential to transform the society, by setting targets that prioritize to equip women socially and economically despite the gaps that still need to be addressed. The study recommended that men should actively participate in the domestic chores, so as to enable women utilize the credit obtained better; more training be extended to women on how to profitably invest the credit obtained.