Access to Credit for Poor Women: A Scale-up Study of Projects Carried out by Freedom from Hunger in Mali and Ghana

Analyzing Freedom from Hunger's village banking program in Mali and Ghana

Freedom from Hunger's (FFH) program has attempted to transfer a modified version of the village bank methodology used by FINCA in Latin America into an African context, extending credit only model to include hunger-prevention education. The paper discusses:

  • FFH's project methodology;
  • Why the program was designed and implemented differently in Mali and Ghana, examining how this explains difference in level of gains and changes reached in the two countries;
  • Action and expansion plans for the pilot projects in Mali and Ghana;
  • Impact assessment of the programs.

The paper concludes that:

  • Certain laws of poverty lending must be followed if projects are to be successful - including keeping loan sizes small, frequent repayment on loans and peer-group analysis, approval of loan activities, guarantee of loan repayment, and, above all, good management;
  • Credit linked to hunger-related education increases probability of poor women adopting these practices;
  • When FFH's techniques are perfected and documented they can be used by other agencies and in other countries.

About this Publication

By Ashe, J., Hirschland, M., Burnett, J., Stack, K., Eiland, M. & Gizzi, M.