Case Study

Gender Empowerment and Access to Financial Services in Machakos County, Eastern Kenya

Understanding the impact of mobile financial services on gender empowerment

This case study examines the consequences of mobile financial services for financial inclusion and socio-economic development in Machakos County, Eastern Kenya. It tries to estimate the extent to which people in some rural parts of the area use mobile money transfer (MMT) services in their daily lives and what impact these services have on gender empowerment and roles. The study is based on interviews with 209 men, 230 women, 12 focus group discussions, and a set of interviews with 12 key informants. Findings of the study indicate that women in the study area have benefited more than men from MMT services as these services have bestowed upon women the financial independence that they did not have before. The paper covers the following sections in detail:

  • Introduction to M-Pesa and mobile financial services in Kenya;
  • Discussion on the research problem and theoretical framework;
  • Methodology of the study and data collection process;
  • Findings with a focus on demographic characteristics, socio-economic status, and access to coverage and use of MMT services;
  • Gender patterns in MMT service utilization and impact of MMT and other mobile finance services on gender empowerment and gender relations;
  • Financial inclusion and the gender empowerment dilemma.

About this Publication

By Wandibba, S., Nangendo, S.M. & Mulemi, B.A.