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Abstract

Purpose- Although women constitute the majority of the rural labour force and contribute substantially to the economy in Tanzania, they are not given due recognition by the policymakers. Despite being major producers, they are still marginalized, do not have access to credit and considered un-bankable. Vodacom Tanzania LTD through its M-PESA Women Empowerment Initiative (MWEI) is reaching out to these marginalized rural women to empower them. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the social economic changes that MWEI has brought to women in rural areas in Tanzania.

Design/ methodology/ approach- Case study design as well as both quantitative and qualitative research paradigms for the collection of data were used. Data validation was done using mean percentage.

Findings-The paper indicates that Vodacom MWEI project provides the un-bankable rural women with cheap credits without interests and entrepreneurship training. The resulting socio-economic changes brought by MWEI to rural women entrepreneurs include: the creation of new jobs, construction or renovation of houses, ability to pay school fees, increased contribution to the household and national economy and online access to consultation services. The study concludes that the once considered not bankable and deprived rural women benefit from the ICT revolution. They are now empowered by MWEI with interest-free small loans using KBE enabling technology and training to start self-sustaining businesses. This has enabled them to create new jobs and increase their contribution to the household and national economy.

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