The influence of microfinance institutions (MFIs) on soci economic empowerment of women: A case of Jiwezi Women Development Program (JIWEP), Nakuru municipality Division, Nakuru County
Mwanzia, Peninah M
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Micro Finance Institutions are known to offer services which include Credit, Savings, and training. They use the group based model in their operation. MFIs offer financial services to women who otherwise are locked out of Mainstream Banking due to lack of consistent wages. This Research examined the influence of MFIs on the Socioeconomic Empowerment of Women in Nakuru Municipality Division. The Research was carried out amongst women Members of JIWEP which offers them financial services. The study has four objectives: To establish the influence of access to credit on socioeconomic empowerment of Women, to determine the influence of savings on socioeconomic empowerment of women, to investigate the influence of training on socioeconomic empowerment of women and finally to establish the influence of groups on socioeconomic empowerment of women. The Study used a descriptive survey design. It used a sample size of 278 women registered with JIWEP in Nakuru Municipality. The data collected was coded and statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) used to analyze the data. The analyzed data is presented through use of frequency distribution tables for easier interpretation. The findings show that access to credit had enabled women to begin and expand their businesses; It had also increased their income as well as enabling women to attain assets such as building houses and purchasing plots of land and paying of school fees for dependants. Members have savings with JIWEP which they use as collateral for their Loans. Members are not allowed to withdraw their savings before they clear the loans. Training done by Loans officers enable members to manage their Loans properly and generally be in control of their credit and generally in decision making. Membership in groups enables women to access credit as members cross guarantee each other and assist each in welfare activities. They also share experiences and have a common approach to their problems. Microfinance institutions are contributing to bridging of the wage gap in pursuit of gender equity while contributing to economic sustainability of women. The government and other Development Partners should include MFIs in their development agenda in advancing women Socio Economic Empowerment.