Mixing micro credit, education and health: Interesting results from Bolivia
This research paper evaluates the design and impacts of the Credit with Education Programme (CRECER - Credito con Educacion Rural) in Bolivia. The paper tests whether the program impact was positive on:
Economic capacity and empowerment of the mother;
Adoption of nutrition practices;
Nutritional status of the children.
The researchers chose three sample groups out of 15,500 beneficiary women - participants (at least a year old), non participants and controls. They conducted a before and after study. The used the baseline in 1994/1995 and the follow-up in 1997 for the survey and anthropometric data collection.
Some of the main findings of this paper are:
Economic capacity of women:
67% felt an increased income,
Used diversified loan-use strategies to cope,
More money spent on medicines, clothes and food.
Health nutrition knowledge and practice among women:
More attention to infant care- nutrition, vaccination etc.,
Increased consumption of nutrients.
Empowerment of women:
Increased in household matters,
Discussed family planning with spouses,
Acted as community resource persons and became more vocal.
The authors list the ultimate impact as:
There was an increase in the ability of households to deal with food stress;
Only 0.5 percent of women surveyed showed malnutrition;
The effect on participants children was minimal. This was because health programs were long term, enterprises were not women-owned and variable quality of aid was provided.
The authors conclude that credit and education services can be delivered together with more impact.