Microcredit–nutrition education link: A case study analysis of ghanaian women’s experiences in income generation and family care
The Enhancing Child Nutrition through Animal Source Food Management (ENAM) project, part of the Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program (GLCRSP), integrated a microcredit and savings program with entrepreneurial and nutrition education to strengthen women’s income- generation activities with the intent of increasing women’s (caregivers)abilities to purchase more Animal Source Foods (ASF) for family meals. The model stressed the integration of research, community development and capacity strengthening and the full participation of partners. The aim of this qualitative study was to provide an understanding of how the microcredit, entrepreneurship and nutrition education program impacted the daily lives of the women who participated in the interventions. Three questions were addressed: What factors lead to success in a microcredit and nutrition education program? What are the obstacles to women’s successful participation and what strategies are employed to overcome these obstacles? What are the lessons learned for future programs? The qualitative analysis was based on case studies of 12 women considered by their peers to be ‘successful’ ENAM participants, and six case studies of women considered to be ‘less successful’ ENAM participants. The qualitative methodology complimented knowledge gained through quantitative investigations as reported by other authors in this supplement. Data were collected through focus group discussions, in-depth interviews and observations. The findings suggested that the greatest benefit to participants from the ENAM experience was its translation into opportunities for obtaining microcredit, which in turn, helped increase women’s business success. Women who were doing well in business before the ENAM interventions did even better as a result of their participation in the ENAM project. Successful women employed multiple strategies to overcome business challenges. Anecdotal evidence suggested that the microcredit-education link in this particular situation did positively impact women’s lives with respect to their small businesses, their personal development, and the health of their families.