Microfinance institutions and empowerment of women in the hospitality industry: a critical analysis of Finca.
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Gender discrimination is a persistent problem faced by women all over the world, which has led to the need to empower women for uplifting their status as recognized by Millennium Development Goals (2010). The present study focuses on the role of microfinance in empowering women with the critical analysis of FINCA Zambia. The current study used both quantitative and qualitative methods to present the findings. The information collected from women in hospitality industries, was quantitatively presented while the information collected from FINCA administration was qualitatively presented. In this study, 100 women in hospitality industries and six administrators from FINCA Zambia were sampled for data collection. Both questionnaires and interviews were used as instruments of data collection. This study revealed that microfinance institutions transform power relations and empower the poor especially women. However, the study established that simply putting financial resources in the hands of poor women does not bring about empowerment at all. Apart from “loan services” this study revealed that some microfinance institutions such as FINCA provide “profit saving services”, “financial literacy management training services” and “business improvement guidance services. The study therefore recommends that, there is need for all microfinance institutions to start offering credit management learning program to all clients in order to help them to repay the loan in time and thus help to empower them (women) economically. This study also recommended that, there is a need to structure the microcredit schemes in such a way that the empowerment outcome will be realized. This study also recommended that, there is need for the reduction of loan interest rate in order to give more advantages to women. However, the major recommendation was that, there is need to develop a deliberate policy which will support MFIs in carrying out financial and entrepreneur skills development especially in women. Government must support the microfinance institutions in reducing the risks involved in money lending by providing cover in case of defaults and hence reduce the interest rates charged on microfinance loans.
The University of Zambia