Gender equality, access to microcredit, flexible lending approaches, Female targeting MFIs
Access to loans is one of the most important areas of focus by many development practitioners for reducing the existing gender gap in access to productive resources. Microfinance Institutions which target females as key clients were promoted for their lending approaches which avoid previous discriminatory practices that excluded women in the financial system. The current study examines the role of Duterimbere MFI of Rwanda in promoting equality in access to microcredit between female and male borrowers. The results of the study are generated by analyzing quantitative data collected from 244 females and 94 males using the questionnaire and qualitative data collected from focus group discussions and interviews with key informants. The study findings revealed that Duterimbere has been able to adapt its requirements to the specific needs of poor women. A significant number of poor women have been able to join the MFI through group solidarity, a method that has upgraded their borrowing capacity to the level of getting individual loans on equal basis as male peers. This study recommends further research that should go beyond access to loan and consider the dynamics of power relations about utilization of the loan received by female and male borrowers.
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