MICROFINANCE WITH EDUCATION IN RURAL GHANA: MEN'S PERCEPTION OF HOUSEHOLD LEVEL IMPACT|
Hagan, LL; Aryeetey, R; Colecraft, EK; Marquis, GS; Nti, AC & Danquah, AO
Microcredit schemes have been shown to enhance women's Income Generation Activities (IGA), household food security, and child nutrition. However, spouses or Male Household Heads (MHH) can influence how women's loans are invested and how incomes ensuing from the investments are expended. This study describes how MHH perceived and experienced the participation of female caregivers from their household in the Enhancing Child Nutrition through Animal Source Food Management (ENAM) project. The ENAM project was designed as an integrated intervention providing microcredit, entrepreneurship and nutrition education to women in rural communities in Ghana. Eighty-five MHH of ENAM project caregivers in two regions of Ghana were interviewed about their awareness of the microcredit and education intervention, their involvement in the IGA that the caregivers' loans were invested in, and their perceptions of the impact of the project on the caregivers' IGA as well as household and child nutrition. The majority of MHH indicated that they had been consulted by the caregivers about the decision to participate in the ENAM project. The most common reasons given for consenting to the caregivers' decision to participate in the program were expectations that the caregiver would receive business capital (30.6%), education on optimal child feeding (36.5%), and income to enable caregivers to contribute more to household expenses (31.8%). With respect to the project's impact, MHH perceived that the caregivers' project participation had a positive impact on their business practices, particularly with respect to improved customer relations. The MHH perceived that caregivers' incomes increased because of their participation in ENAM as evidenced by regular income savings and increased contributions to household food and non-food expenditures. However, MHH reported decreases in their own contributions to almost all household expenditure categories in response to the perceived increase in caregivers' incomes. The MHH also perceived improvements in home meal quality. In summary, MHH credited the ENAM project with improved caregiver's incomes and increased share of household expenses. However, this outcome resulted in unanticipated declines in MHH contribution to household expenses. Further studies are needed to understand the impact of empowering women through social experiments on households.
Microcredit, Men, Income, Household expenditures