226033 Micro-credit and social justice: Understanding the pathways to improved health conditions through micro-credit schemes

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 9:06 AM - 9:24 AM

Monique Hennink, PhD , Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Deborah Mc Farland, PhD , Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
The microfinance revolution of the past quarter century directly confronts disparities facing the poorest of the poor and has proven the simple, but profound, idea that making loans to the poorest women around the world makes a dramatic difference in the status of the women and their households in health and education outcomes. While the outcomes are no longer in any doubt, the way these achievements are accomplished is not well understood. This study will examine the pathways and mechanisms through which microfinance loans to women in developing countries lead to improved health conditions and behavior.Greater understanding of these pathways can make microfinance initiatives even more powerful as instruments of social justice and change. This study was conducted in urban and rural study sites in Burkina Faso. Qualitative research methods were used to examine in detail the behaviour, processes and perceptions related to women who received a micro credit loan. Participants were selected by their length of membership of the micro-credit scheme (< 6 months, 1-2 years and 5+ years). Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were conducted with women loan recipients, group discussions were also held with husbands of women loan recipients. The results highlight the household dynamics of loan recipients and multiple strategies that contribute to improved health behaviour. We also highlight that even though micro-credit offers a strategy for poverty reduction, it remains a fragile net that is weakened by economic shocks within the household; this reduces its potential for long term sustainability and social justice.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the pathways through which micro-credit loans lead to improved heath behaviour Describe the changed household dynamics that lead to health improvements Demonstrate the fragile nature of micro-credit as a strategy for poverty reduction

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am in a school of public health and conducted the research
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 5056.0: Women’s Health