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Economic and Political Weekly, June 2024. Review of Women's Studies

Forum Italicum: A Journal of Italian Studies, SAGE Publications

Silberman School of Social Work/Hunter College MEAL Team Publication, May 2024

In/Visibility of Flight: Images and Narratives of Forced Migration, Ed by - Monika Mokre, Maria Six-Hohenbalken - Book

Empowering women through ruralfinance, vaue chain, gender capacity facilitation

Dear colleagues

I want to share a recent evaluation report on ''promoting Empowerment of Women and gender equality...'' don in Uganda for Oxfam-Novib, titled:

Promoting Empowerment of Women and Gender Equality through Integrated Microfinance, Value-chain Support and Gender Capacity Building -- The Case of Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Microfinance Service Ltd (Uganda)

SUMMARY: Interventions aiming at empowerment of women leading to gender equality rarely succeed for failure to design programmes that are suitable to the local context. The programme under investigation, supported by Oxfam-Novib’s Women Empowerment, Mainstreaming and Networking (WEMAN) programme, provides integrated services of ruralfinance, value-chain support as well as capacity building on gender, based on participatory methodologies and leveraging existing ruralfinance group forums as a platform, as well as systematic deployment of voluntary labour and effective peer-to-peer learning. Dramatic changes are being registered towards gender equality at household level and beyond in-terms of increased women control of resources such as land, and sharing of household responsibilities with spouse in a context such as that part of rural Uganda where serious gender in-equality has been part of the rural cultural system for generations. Yet, to scale-up and sustain women empowerment and gender equality at community-wide level, it looks like more integrated efforts need to be exerted at markets as well as (formal and informal) institutions that sustain and/or re-enforce gender in-equality. [Key words: gender, empowerment, rural microfinance, value chain, GALS methodology, PRA]

Evaluating a microfinance cooperative’s efforts in advancing gender equality

This study aims at analyzing the performance on promoting women empowerment and gender equality of a microfinance cooperative, Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Microfinance Ltd (BJCMF), in rural Uganda. BJCMF has tried to combine microfinance service along with support to farmer production and marketing, complemented by a capacity building program on gender. On the basis of desk review of literature, focus group discussions, and interviews with microfinance resource persons and clients, the study makes the following observations:

  • Decentralized model of community-owned microfinance, such as the one being practiced by BJCMF, seems very suitable for the rural areas in the Rwenzori mountains;
  • Members or clients of the cooperative have a greater role in organizational decision making, and client ownership ensures sustainability of the service;
  • Group lending modality provided a forum for strengthening mutual support networks and social security structure, as well as a potential platform for delivering multiple services demanded by the poor cost effectively;
  • Introduction of the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) played a key role in facilitating gender analysis and discussion by participating household members. Thus it created an opportunity for participants to openly debate differences and similarities in their perception on gender equality, often leading to a consensus on most of the issues.

The paper has been selected by by World Bank sponsored CGAP/, and can be downloaded from the link:

I look forward to get your feed backs, suggestions, etc.



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