Women participation in Microcredit Services and its Effect on Business Improvement, Household Welfare and Women Empowerment in Babati, Tanzania
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Abstract: This study was conducted in Babati Town with the aim of assessing the contribution of microcredit services to business growth, household welfare and women empowerment. Specific objectives of the study were to: (i) determine awareness and participation in microcredit services among small scale women traders (ii) identify the factors influencing women's participation in microcredit services and (iii) assess the role of microcredit services in improving business and household welfare. The study enrolled a total of 196 randomly selected small scale women traders. Data were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire and analysed for descriptive and inferential statistical analysis using Statistical Product Solution (SPSS) program version 16. Results indicated that majority of small scale women traders (95.9%) in the area were aware of the activities of the microfinance institutions and, nearly 64% were utilizing the microcredit services. Results also showed that participation in microcredit services by women traders was positively influenced by number of dependents (p < 0.05), responsibility of taking care of a family (p < 0.01), experience in small scale business (p < 0.05) and capital size (p < 0.05). However, participation in microcredit services was negatively influenced by short loan repayment period (p < 0.05), long loan processing period (p< 0.01), and lack of collateral (p < 0.05). Overall, microcredit services improved (p<0.05) business and household welfare but did not led to women empowerment (p > 0.05). Based on these findings, recommendations to improve women’s participation in microcredit services have been indicated.