Influence of microfinance institutions on economic empowerment of women: the case of Nyalenda slums in Kisumu District, Kenya
Opondo, Henry N
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This study set out to investigate the influence of Microfinance Institutions on economic empowerment of women; the case of Nyalenda Slums in Kisumu district in Kenya. Women play critical role in national development unfortunately they are worst affected by poverty and multiple disadvantages. Microfinance institutions have been viewed as key stepping stone to enable women graduate from poverty to more stable economic situation by providing women with alternative sources of financial services. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of microfinance institutions on economic empowerment of women in Nyalenda slums. The study was guided by the following three objectives: First to establish the extent to which entrepreneurial training influence economic empowerment of women in Nyalenda slums; Second to examine the level at which financial services offered by micro finance institutions influence economic empowerment of women in Nyalenda slums and third to investigate the extent to which the role played by women groups in accessing microfinance services influence economic empowerment of women in Nyalenda slums. The research design used for this study was descriptive survey. The study population consisted of 75 women who were active members of MFIs in Nyalenda slums and 15 credit officers working with these three MFIs. A· questionnaire was used to collect primary data from the respondents. The data from this questionnaire was then analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) version 17. Frequencies, percentages and mean scores were used to display the results in form of tables and figures. The survey recorded a response rate of 88.9 % with a total of 80 out of 90 respondents targeted responding. The study found that MFIs in Nyalenda slums were offering entrepreneurial training to women accessing loans. Entrepreneurial trainings had equipped women with basic management skills, changed the mode of business operations and instilled in women the discipline of accountability and transparency. The financial services offered by MFls were found to include group based financial services, personal loans/saving, asset financing, schools fees loans, and disbursement of women enterprise fund (WEF). These financial services opened a new chapter in the economic lives of women in Nyalenda slums by providing varieties of financial services at women's disposal leading women to participate actively in both micro enterprise as well as the general good of their households. Women groups served as mid-point between MFIs and women, acted as source of joint liability when accessing loans, centers of information and training. The study established that participation of women in various fora both at societal level and household had positively improved. This meant that their self esteem had been improved gauged by their aggressiveness in business as well as been involved in leadership responsibility. The study recommends that MFIs should harmonize their entrepreneurial training, provide more different financial products to meet women's needs and target the very poor in society. The women groups ought to be more accommodative to women who are considered to be un-creditworthy.