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Money matters? Micro-credit and poverty reduction among poor women in Tanzania.

Mohamed, Fauzia Mtei (2008) Money matters? Micro-credit and poverty reduction among poor women in Tanzania. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis concerns the meaning and role of money as perceived both by poor women in Tanzania and the micro-credit agencies seeking to reduce their poverty. It argues that the economic understandings of money promoted by micro-credit do not reflect everyday monetary practices and beliefs, rendering the agencies less effective than they could be. Studying micro-credit is important given that it has been adopted as a major alternative poverty reduction strategy. This study contextualises women's understanding of money in terms of their participation in informal economy, their transition from rural to urban life, and their negotiation of gender roles and expectations. Empirical research focused on in-depth interviews with clients and staff at two micro-credit agencies in Dar es Salaam: PRIDE and SELFINA. Despite different policies and organisational structures, in both cases, the study found that women and micro-credit agencies have divergent understandings of money and its investment as well as of poverty and its reduction. Moreover both agencies treated money as a discrete element, largely ignoring the gender, social, cultural and patriarchal relations that influence these women's monetary practices and beliefs. This study concludes that micro-credit's attempt to alter resource allocation in the household by offering women an opportunity to earn money for economic investment without addressing issues of resource allocation and distribution within the household will not eventually benefit poor women.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Social Structure and Development, Women's Studies, Sub Saharan Africa Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Sociology

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