Implementation of a microfinance program for networks of young men in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Unemployment is a structural determinant of men’s health, but has not been adequately addressed in public health interventions. Microfinance initiatives in developing countries have helped spur economic growth, fostering positive health outcomes. Men are largely excluded from MFI programs because of perceptions that they are risky borrowers. We implemented an MFI program for men in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where the overall unemployment rate of 13% concentrates among youth.
The microfinance program is part of a randomized controlled trial for young men designed to reduce sexually transmitted infections and GBV perpetration. We worked with pre-existing social networks locally known as “camps,” and coordinated with a local microfinance institution. All members of 30 camps (n=633) became eligible for a $100 loan after attending a five-day business training, forming a group of members accountable to each other, developing a business plan approved by group members, and depositing $5 in savings.
475 men attended the business training and 163 (26%) took loans staggered over nine months. At nine months, 74 men repaid completely, 66 of these accessed a second loan, and 89 remain in repayment. Common businesses include clothes, food, and video sales. Loan uptake barriers include no business idea, small loan size, and inability to form a group.
In the context of this randomized controlled trial we have shown that microfinance is feasible with young men in Tanzania. More research should examine barriers and facilitators to enrolling men in microfinance, with the aim of alleviating poverty and unemployment for men.
Learning Areas:Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe the context of unemployment in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Explain implementation of a microfinance initiative with young men Describe businesses developed and repayment status of microfinance borrowers
Keyword(s): Underserved Populations, Funding/Financing
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 7 years of experience in domestic and international public health research and programs, with a specialization in community-based participatory research. I currently serves as the UNC Research Coordinator for Vijana Vijiweni II, a cluster-randomized trial to determine the efficacy of a combined microfinance and peer-leadership training intervention in preventing HIV and gender-based violence perpetration with networks of young men in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
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.