The virtuous spirals of Village Savings and Loaning Associations for poverty alleviation through women empowerment: Case studies from Webuye and Mount Elgon constituencies in Kenya


End date: 13 July, 2015 Project type: BSU Students' Master Thesis Project code: mdr13-1W1 BSU Countries: Kenya Lead institution: Roskilde University (RUC), Denmark Project coordinator: Selina Omwaka Wambutsi

Project summary


Microfinance institutions in Kenya have been criticized for neglecting the financial needs of the poor populations, and this has questioned their credibility as poverty alleviation tools. In the 21st century, the Village Savings and Loaning Associations (VSLAs) have been promoted as an alternative methodology for poverty alleviation in Kenya. Drawing on empirical study in Webuye and Mount Elgon constituencies in Kenya, this dissertation analyses the impact of VSLAs on poverty alleviation through women empowerment. Linda Mayoux’ framework on microfinance and women empowerment has been used to highlight the reinforcing spirals of VSLAs on women empowerment and household well-being. The study indicates that VSLAs have increased women’s economic choices by increasing their access to income and expanding their capabilities to make contributions in their households. Consequently, women have increased their well-being and that of their households. The study also indicates that VSLAs have enhanced women’s capacity for achievement of social empowerment, but this aspect is dependent on changes in the societal structures and norms and in the women’s attitudes and actions.


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