Microfinance, HIV and Women's Empowerment

Discussing integrative microfinance and gender empowerment activities
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This technical brief offers information on economic development approaches to HIV field staff and program managers. It recommends integrative microfinance and gender empowerment as solutions to HIV.

Evidence from across the world indicates that greater income inequality is associated with higher HIV prevalence. Economic empowerment activities have, however, not driven current response to HIV. The paper states that integrative microfinance:

  • Focuses on finance and other developmental issues such as linking credit with skills building and education;
  • Has the ability to cover HIV and womens health on a massive scale;
  • Can combine microfinance and health education with empowerment activities, legislation and reform policy to support small businesses and womens rights;
  • Relies on community or group targeting for membership, with specialized targeting for vulnerable young women;
  • Creates separate, but parallel operations integrated within existing MFIs.

Bold action must be taken to combine microfinance with HIV education and empowerment training as the cornerstone of economic empowerment efforts to reduce a womans risk of HIV. Donors should fund economic empowerment models that incorporate gender, equality, empowerment training and HIV prevention.

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