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Microeconomic schemes in rural Ghana: A mixed-method evaluation of microcredit membership on women's empowerment, and family planning practices

Carolette Norwood, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

In recent years, development scholars and demographers have given important attention to microcredit organization in the “third-world”. The United Nations proclaims the year 2005 the year of microcredit. According to Schuler, Hashemi and Riley (1997) joining such operations can enhance the propensity to use contraceptives. Yet, research also indicates that women who join microcredit groups are likely to enter with a high sense of autonomy, have comparatively lower fertility levels and a greater tendency to use contraceptives (Steel Amin, and Nave, 2001). Using a mixed-method approach, this study evaluates the effectiveness of a rural microcredit scheme in Abokobi Village, Ghana. The sample is 204 women age 19 years and older. One half of the sample belongs to a microcredit organization. Outcome findings suggest that both membership and membership duration is positively associated with aspects of empowerment, but not the same dimensions of empowerment. Local meaning of empowerment is not entirely inconsistent with standardize measures used in western research, local women viewed empowerment as having opportunities to work, but also locally, empowerment means needing help finically and having a hard work ethic. Unlike empowerment, this study finds no significant differences between members and non-members in attitudes and practices with family planning; however, having fewer children and more years of education has statistically significant effects on family planning use and attitudes. ^

Subject Area

Women's Studies|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies|Sociology, Public and Social Welfare

Recommended Citation

Norwood, Carolette, "Microeconomic schemes in rural Ghana: A mixed-method evaluation of microcredit membership on women's empowerment, and family planning practices" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3159555.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3159555

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