Impact of Credit with Education on Mother's and Their Young Children's Nutrition: CRECER Credit with Education Program in Bolivia

Mixing micro credit, education and health: Interesting results from Bolivia
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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,
    • Increased savings,
    • 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.

About this Publication

By MkNelly, B & Dunford, C.