Case Study

Empowering Women and Coping with Financial Crises

How to better design surveys for microfinance impact assessment?

The paper seeks to determine the elements that may be included in a survey questionnaire to assess the impact of participation in a microfinance program in the local context. It attempts this through in-depth interviews with 10 micro-entrepreneurs, on two elements:

  • Strategies used by households to cope with financial crises;
  • Empowerment of female microentrepreneurs.

The paper finds and presents information on:

  • Types of financial crises faced amongst households of microentrepreneurs;
  • Coping strategies employed in response to financial crises;
  • Correlation between earning and household decisions of women;
  • Self-esteem inside and outside of the household context of women;
  • Documentation methods to asses the impact of microfinance programs;
  • Rotational savings clubs, which do not find a ready mention as sources of funds in case of financial emergencies.

Finally, the paper suggests different methodologies for assessing different types of parameters. It specifically mentions the use of:

  • Open-ended questions or case studies as they are more suited to capture parameters such as the consequences of increased income of women clients;
  • Questionnaires with pre-determined response categories as they are better suited to assess factors such as the increase in the income of women and its proportion to total household income;
  • Case studies or other qualitative approaches as they are better suited to study gender relation within the households.

About this Publication

By Barnes, C.