1.1 Background information
Poverty is a universal phenomenon, that is found virtually everywhere and affect a large number of people in the globe. To this effect Thirlwall (2003:87) contributing to the poverty literature, says that ‘in poverty, there is feeling of powerlessness, vulnerability and fear because the poor is not free, he is exposed to greater risks and living on the margin of subsistence.’ That is to say, the poor have little or no significant say in the society; they are looked upon with contempt. In every society, especially in Africa, women are the most affected by poverty. To this effect, it is important that certain measures have to be taken to ameliorate the scourge of poverty. One of these measures is through micro-financing, which is geared towards empowering the poor in the society. Poverty is a canker worm that can extensively hinder the growth and development of any society. It is quit unfortunate that Africa as a continent suffer from poverty in different forms. Poverty in Kenya has led to the deepest depth of desperation and hopelessness leading the woman gender to indulge alcoholism and criminality and other vices that are frowned at by the society. Empowerment for (Kilby, 2010) can be defined as being related to 'agency', or the expansion of individuals' choices, these creates varieties and actions, that is the ability to do something, primarily in relation to others. In this context, when women are empowered by microfinance, they can have a variety of ‘choice’ to make in the society making them more confident in all ramifications.
Consequently, (Christabell, 2009) equally states that ‘microfinance refers to the entire or wide range of financial and non financial...
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...mprovement of women’s lives within the roles they play at home or in the society and ‘strategic’ gender interest that helps women with the ability to take up new functions that will lead to empowerment(Momsen, 2009). It is based on an understanding of gender relations and empowers the weak (he or she). Here power is a vital tool to women empowerment and inequality emanates from unequal and unbalance sharing of power which can be observed as a tenet in most religion, costumes and cultures.
A gender approach is significant for this case study as it will aid in unravelling the barriers that are faced by women in communities that are poorly resourced. They suffer from an unequal access to resources and power. This is due to a ‘cultural bias in favor of men’ (Chant, 2007:41), this is most men think women are weaker sexes and also unproductive compared to them.
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