Does Microcredit Meet the Needs of all Poor Women? Constraints to Participation Among Destitute Women in Bangladesh

Is income generating activity a panacea for the ultra-poor in Bangladesh?
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This paper states that the initiatives taken up by WFP and BRAC for income generation and streamlining the poor with mainstream society through microfinance do not attribute in alleviating poverty. Not all participate and use the services offered due to socio-economic reasons.

The paper presents the study Curtailed participation to IGVGD in Bangladesh, which describes the poor women as:

  • Having interest only in short term food consumption and income flow enhancement;
  • Having fear of debt repayment, especially during natural calamities;
  • Lacking interest and belief in training programs and in income generation activities;
  • Having time constraints.

The paper points out that poor women do not understand the importance of program initiatives and feel that the program is not useful to them. The other reason for their lack of enthusiasm is the difficulty in attending meetings due to distant locations and due to sickness.

The authors suggest that participation in the income generation activities can be enhanced through:

  • Emphasis on the importance of the program, highlighting the positive change in socio-economic status;
  • Use of persuasive factors such as linkage of food to training attendance, family, especially male back up and economic back up;
  • Maximum emphasis not on credit or IGA but on food substitution and social enhancement;
  • Addition of risk insurance to the program;
  • Effective monitoring of process and outcome.

About this Publication

By Webb, P., Coates, J. & Houser, R.