THE IMPACT OF MICRO FINANCE ON WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
Micro-financing is usually for everyone who has the needs to expand their business and willing to pay their obligation on a timely manner but usually men go out and look for a job while most women stay at home and take care of their children or look for a living that usually can be done at home or nearby area in order to take care of their family and earn as well to be able to make ends meet. This has been the reason why most micro-financing caters mostly to women especially in Asian and African Community, they have found most of enterprising housewives for sustainable participation in the economy.
In Latin America about 40% of women produce food and other business to sell while in Asia there are about 60% of them develop their own business at home a small store, grocery, food business and more and in Africa about 70% to 80% of women produce food through land cultivation, livestock, small fishery and other livelihood from their backyard and selling it to their neighbors or directly to the market. These activities created a good participation in their economy that there are also successful women in this kind of business although it is hard to expand usually they start in modesty and earn a little. They find it fulfilling and satisfying to do the work they love while they can still divide their time to take care of their children.
This is where micro-financing company sets-in they have considered these women’s activities to group themselves to be eligible for micro-financing loan to improve, innovate and later expand their business using a small loan from the beginning and later on grow their small business. Micro-financing companies like Kiva, Micro Finance Africa and others does not just usually give funds they also look for ways to train, inform and encourage them the best ways to expand their business so that women can gain control over their livelihood by helping themselves and others. If they are willing and able to demonstrate their best interest usually they achieve economic and social gain, they empower themselves within the community to earn a decent life with the help of micro-financing, they have found a way to climb out of poverty.
In India the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) concerns are equality and human rights of Indian Women. Their micro-financing scheme also provide opportunity through linking them with basic services, labor savings, food processing, information and communication technology and other self help training that will provide them with the basic framework in business creation thus necessary for their success and empowerment. The knowledge and experience they can gain from this training is beneficial as a good entry point to uplift the low morality and dignity of women that has been a part of their tradition that usually women should only stay at home.
In Sub Saharan, South Africa and most parts of the region they have serve the women more than 20 years of empowerment by giving them loans and micro-credits resulting in business opportunity and expansion, poverty eradication, maximization of their resources, self reliance and efficiency of not just women but the participation of the family to maximize their business. Given the complexity and poverty that they have experienced during the last few decades the women can say that they are more enterprising and they have the courage to take advantage of the program set by micro-finance banks to further strengthen their little home-based business.
In Asia particularly the Philippines ABS-CBN one of the most trusted media broadcast is a sister company of Bayan Foundation Micro finance Foundation Inc. started out in 1993 by giving funds to 25 poor women. Reorganized in 2006 to further strengthen their mission to become a full pledge Micro Enterprise Development program that usually caters for women who would like to create a more sustainable livelihood, they do not just give loan but they also provide entrepreneurship training education and values formation to strengthen the family. Opportunity Microfinance Bank, (OMB) also provide a real time training and Christian values formation beside the loan.
Most of Micro Financing Companies has helped most women not just to empower themselves through financial and material gain but they also give them back the pride to become the women of the century who no longer stays at home. Microfinance is an accepted strategy to reach women. According to Global Micro Credit Summit held in Spain that there are about 137.5 million families who have received loans most of them are held by women who has the access to loans and financial services and usually they cater to the poorest community. Most Micro Financing Organizations have followed the rule of the proverbs “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” but this time it is the women.
http://www.chs.ubc.ca/srilanka/PDFs/Empowering%20women%20through%20microfinance.pdf / http://www.microcreditsummit.org/papers/+5cheston_kuhn.pdf