Factors influencing access of women to microfinance services. a case of Tigania West District
Credit is very important for personal growth and economic development. Women in Kenya play an important role in economic development; however, they are often disadvantaged due so to social and cultural reasons. In addition, women have been disadvantaged when getting credit, this is because interest on loans is very high [sometimes up to 19% per annum] and also banks require collateral security in order to acquire a loan. Women who operate Small and Medium Enterprises lack capital to expand their businesses. The study employed descriptive survey design. A survey was carried out to determine the factors influencing access of rural women to microfinance services in Tigania West district. The target population was women who are clients of the Microfinance institutions in Tigania west District and have benefited from these institutions. Stratified simple random sampling technique was used to select a sample size of 179 women Questionnaires were used in collecting primary data and both quantitative and qualitative techniques were used to analyze the data obtained from the field. Findings were presented in the form of frequency table and percentage. The study established that procedures associated with transactions to access credit are too complex, cumbersome, and intimidating for most low-income clients, particularly those with low literacy levels and for poor women. It is observed that most of the MFIs lacked a wide range of innovative and unique products and services to offer to their clients which could also prove to be an impediment to accessing financial services offered by the MFls it was also established that majority of the women entrepreneurs considered collateral and lengthy and vigorous procedures for loan applications as the major barriers in accessing credit from financial institutions. This study therefore recommends that micro finance institutions should lower their interest rates to make the loans affordable to women Additionally, the researcher suggests that the interest rate be reduced to 10% per annum. The clients should be given more grace period before they start repaying the loans so as to give time for their investment to grow. Asking them to pay on weekly basis should be reconsidered to allow them to repay on monthly basis.