Rural microfinancing and women's empowerment: a case study on rural women clients in dessie zuria district, Ethiopia
As elsewhere, rural development policy makers and practitioners in Ethiopia have overstretched the role of microfinancing beyond mere poverty reduction to women's empowerment The underlined interest of this study is to examine the extent to which women are utilizing rural microfinance programs and assess microfinance's potential effects on empowering women at a rural district. Flexible and mixed research design that combines quantitative, qualitative, and participatory methods is adopted to examine complex and comprehensive facts at individual, household and community levels. A mix of data garnering instruments (questionnaire, unstructured interviews, focus group discussions, case story narrative, document analysis and review tools and site observations) were then employed to collect field data from mainly 80 women clients, who have been in the program for the past three and over years.
In a multi-faceted examination, the results of the study, in general, revealed the existence of sufficient evidences that substantiate the possibilities of rural microfinancing for empowering rural women. The move towards rural women's empowerment through microfinancing is not same and alike to all women however. Microfinance's potential effects are also dependant up on an array of issues ranging from institutional design, product diversification, triple role burden of women, livelihood assets of individual women, to the physical environment where rural women clients are leading their life.
Rural microfinancing, Women's empowerment, Dessie Zuria district.