The best available qualitative evidence from South Asia has revealed microfinance to be a positive experience for women where programmes along with providing credit also develop women’s skills and knowledge, specifically where:
the programmes which target the most vulnerable women are empowered through access to financial services and skills to become co-contributors to their family and community
programmes assist women to develop skills and knowledge, and thereby raise their self-esteem, their social capital, and therefore their reputation in the wider community
financial and economic management experience is cumulative, and has a key role in improving beneficiaries’ self-confidence, their households’ level of support, and positive wider community sentiment over a longer period of association with micro-finance institutions
Where programmes fail to integrate these themes, programme participants may be more vulnerable to negative experiences and outcomes such as loss of family and community support or social status they previously held.
This review was funded under the Department for International Development’s Systematic Review and Research Mapping South Asia programme
Peters MDJ, Lockwood C, Munn Z, Moola S, Mishra RK (2016) People’s views and experiences of participating in microfinance interventions: A systematic review of qualitative evidence. London: EPPI Centre, Social Science Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education, University College London, 207p