Evaluation and Research Working Paper Series, Number 1
II. TRENDS IN SUPPORTING WOMEN'S PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES:
III. UNICEF'S EXPERIENCE IN SUPPORTING WOMEN'S PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES
IV. WOMEN, WORK AND THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN
V. HIGHLIGHTS OF KEY ISSUES
I wish to thank Rhea Saab, with the UNICEF Evaluation Office,
for her support, encouragement and advice during the writing of
this document. My thanks also go to John Donohue, Director of
the UNICEF Evaluation Office, who provided the initial impetus
to open the discussions about UNICEF's role in supporting women's
productive activities during the 1990s. Special thanks goes to
Sawon Hong, UNICEF Senior Programme Officer, for her incisive
The complexity of forces working against poor women in developing
countries is now greater than ever. The traditional sociocultural
constraints that have long limited women's participation in the
economy and their access to resources are now coupled with international
issues of debt, structural adjustment programmes, declining terms
of trade, and war. Austerity measures have curbed public spending,
cutting deep into social sector programmes and causing hardship
for many poor women and their children. The current lack of dynamism
in many national economies has meant there are fewer economic
opportunities, while innumerable barriers, such as caste and lack
of education and access to land and capital, obstruct the efforts
of the poor to break out of poverty.
The worldwide economic recession and the severe food crisis throughout
much of sub-Saharan Africa during the 1980s have particularly
intensified the burden on poor women. They now increasingly contribute
to, and often assume sole responsibility for, the welfare of their
families. Where many men are forced to migrate to cities, mines
or abroad, this burden is particularly acute.
B. Defining `Income-Generating Activities'
The limits of a welfare-oriented response to this growing crisis
are now well recognized. Alternatively, many development agencies
are increasing their emphasis on assisting women to secure income
through their own efforts. Such approaches are often categorized
as `income-generating activities' and cover initiatives as diverse
as small business promotion, cooperative undertakings, job creation
schemes, sewing circles, credit and savings groups and youth training
programmes. So, how can `income-generation' be defined? It is
sometimes argued that education and health provision, legal and
political changes, and global economics all affect the abilities
of people to secure an income. From this stems the confusion in
the use of the term `income-generation'. For the purpose of this
paper, `income-generating activities' will be considered those
initiatives that affect the economic aspects of people's lives
through the use of economic tools such as credit. Other types
of support affecting women's production are considered complementary
to income-generating activities. For example, these might include
child care or basic services provision and labour-saving technologies.
C. UNICEF and Women's Productive Activities
UNICEF's mandate and modes of operation allow it to maintain close
cooperation with social sector ministries in developing countries,
and it has built its global reputation by addressing both strategic
and practical needs on behalf of women and children. Strategic
needs are those that derive from the imbalance in gender relationships
and women's position in society. Practical needs are those that
are formulated from the immediate and concrete conditions of daily
life1. UNICEF's work to meet the practical needs of
women is carried out mainly in the sectors of health, education,
water supply and sanitation, and basic services. It also contributes
to more fundamental changes through advocacy and institution building.
It utilizes opportunities offered by these activities to influence
change and provide support in the sphere of women's productive
UNICEF has played a significant role in broadening and complementing
income-generating activities and has been involved in the trend
towards the use of credit as a key tool, as well as in catalysing
and coordinating agencies that support women's productive activities.
However, the organization is currently concerned with developing
a holistic approach that incorporates women's practical concerns
with the resolution of strategic issues. UNICEF is beginning
to acknowledge as an organization that it is the latter action
that will bring about fundamental changes and sustainable progress
in women's role and status.
D. Objective of this Report
This document was written to stimulate debate about UNICEF's role
in supporting women's productive activities during the 1990s.
It was presented to the Consultation on `Support to Women's Economic
Activities and Income Generation in the 1990s'. This consultation
was held in New York in April-May 1992. Participants from many
of UNICEF's regional and country offices, as well as representatives
from major international and national development organizations,
were in attendance.
II. TRENDS IN SUPPORTING WOMEN'S PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES:
THE GROWING PREDOMINANCE OF CREDIT AS A DEVELOPMENT TOOL
A. A Brief Historical Overview
Approaches to supporting women's productive activities have evolved
over several decades. Prior to the 1970s, welfare-oriented approaches
predominated. Grants were given for training and income-generating
projects that emphasized the domestication of women. Projects
tended to be small scale, underfunded and isolated from mainstream
development. A shift by some agencies began in the late 1970s
towards creating income-generating components of larger programmes.
These programmes as a whole were given higher priority than isolated
projects, and in some cases women were able to gain a better understanding
of political and power structures. However, the income-generating
components often received far less funding and priority than other
components, and awareness of gender issues in the programmes as
a whole was frequently missing.
By the mid-1980s, disillusionment with income-generating activities
began to surface within many agencies. There was increasing recognition
that they were, in many cases, failing to raise income levels,
and in some cases were additionally burdening poor women. By the
end of the 1980s many agencies were avoiding the use of the term
`income-generating', as it continued to conjure up images of women
undertaking marginal economic activities far removed from the
increasing thrust towards gender issues and women's empowerment.
By the end of the decade, scattered evidence was revealing that
an increasing number of poor women were creating their own jobs
in small-scale agriculture, manufacturing, services and petty
trade (Berger, 1989a). Evidence also indicated that the smaller
the business the greater the chance of its being owned and operated
by a woman (Accion, 1988). Access to financing at affordable rates
was recognized as a constraint for poor women, and taking this
into account, many development agencies began to turn their efforts
towards utilizing credit as a development tool. Studies of women-focused
credit projects, mostly carried out by the implementing agencies
themselves, generally have found positive economic and social
benefits resulting from these projects and have shown credit projects
to be generally superior to other types of income-generating initiatives
(Buvinic and Yudelman, 1989).
The challenge remains as to whether UNICEF should move away
from `income-generating' activities and move towards (as many
agencies have) concepts of, and support for, women's productive
activities, whether complementary to income-generating activities
or directly income related. In addition to stabilizing or
generating income, many credit interventions have contributed
to improving women's position within the household and community.
How these benefits accrue depends in part on the sociocultural
and economic context, but of equal importance are the methodologies
and mechanisms used by agencies.
B. Methodologies of Credit Interventions
There are two methodologies of programming credit interventions
targeted at poor women. Aspects of each overlap in some instances,
but these methodologies can be generalized as
(1) participatory approaches and (2) approaches that introduce
Participatory approaches often start from the existing situation
of the beneficiaries. They accept that interventions do not begin
in a vacuum and that poor women have ingenuity and understanding
about managing finances and household resources. Humility is therefore
required on the part of the intervening agency, which must first
learn from poor women about the specific informal credit mechanisms
already existing in their area. Such mechanisms include traditional
systems, such as tontines/cheetus, moneylending, funeral societies,
personal borrowing, bartering and pawning. Understanding how these
work and what their limitations are takes time and interaction
with the poor, because household and individual borrowing issues
are considered private matters in most cultures. Through this
process of interaction and reflection, trust and understanding
can be built between the interveners and poor women. This forms
the basis for identifying constraints on these women, and eventually
building mechanisms to address their needs. Therefore, planning
must not be done externally but with the active participation
of the beneficiaries. Where the goal is empowerment, interveners
sometimes support the process of building democratic membership-based
local organizations with poor women, such as SEWA (box 1).
The Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA)
SEWA is an autonomous trade union for women which began in 1972.
It has both urban and rural members and originated from the women's
group within the Textile Labor Association. It has, since its
inception, gone beyond conventional trade unionism. This has been
done in response to the inability of conventional unions to deal
with the problems of poor women in the informal sector.
It is based on the desire to establish recognition for self-employed
women. From this basis it has built components responding to its
membership's demands. These have included credit, skills training
and a wide range of responses to social problems such as maternal
protection schemes, widowhood benefits, child care and training
In 1974, SEWA registered its own bank. It began with members purchasing
small shares. The process of building the bank required "close
supervision, self-monitoring through participatory process, and
building a collective consciousness and cooperative values among
the SEWA groups. Training and technical inputs to improve the
efficiency of activities were also necessary" (Wignaraja,
The bank has adapted its operations to the needs of illiterate
women. Loan applications are filled out by bank workers based
on face-to-face discussions. Data provided by the applicant are
confirmed by a field visit. The time between initial loan applications
and disbursement is short. Loans are repaid in 36 monthly instalments.
The repayment rate on loans from the SEWA bank is 87% (Ibid: 80)
This participatory approach differs from the `models' approach
in which standard predetermined packages are offered. These often
include step-by-step guidelines to microbusiness feasibility studies,
loan administration, etc. Most often they promote a system whereby
credit is delivered, collected and recorded by persons external
to, and of a different class from, the borrowers themselves. This,
and the lack of women's participation in decision-making, can
lengthen the road to empowerment.
Methodological tools are emerging from some agencies, such as
Accion International (Accion) which do not prescribe step-by-step
models but provide principles based on years of experience in
credit for the poor. A summary of what Accion has found to be
requirements for success is outlined in box 2.
Credit Programmes that Work
In Accion's assessment, staff of successful credit programmes
recognize microbusiness owners as capable individuals who have
shown their initiative by starting an economic activity. Staff
should gear their services to the owners of the smallest businesses
who often have little experience with banks and collateral requirements.
Successful programmes must also fulfil the following requirements:
* Work directly in the community
* Simplify application procedures
* Extend credit quickly
* Do not initially require books and complex business plans
* Do not require guarantees that would eliminate most potential
* Work with existing microbusinesses or help start others that
in the community
* Focus on the local market
* Extend small short-term loans primarily for working capital
* Charge interest rates at the market rate or higher
* Allow loan recipients to assume a major role in promoting the
Source: Accion, 1988
C. Credit Strategies and Mechanisms
Currently the credit strategy most widely used by development
agencies is direct lending to small enterprises. This contrasts
with initiating cooperative producer groups whose overall record
in terms of economic viability and thus survival has not been
good (Devereux and Pares, 1987; Harper, 1992)2. Direct
lending also contrasts with strategies such as investment in labour-intensive
industries likely to create jobs for women. The direct lending
strategy most often supports individual productive activities
that derive from the poor themselves and are in response to immediate
and familiar circumstances. The success or failure of the activity
is most often the participant's responsibility. IFAD has summarized
a series of potential benefits of such strategies which typify
agencies' expectations (box 3).
Potential Benefits of Utilizing Credit as a Development Tool
Donor expectations about the benefits of direct lending to the
poor often include the following:
1. Transfer of resources to the poor. Credit gives the
poor access to a range of new technologies and inputs, not just
a single option imposed by the project design.
2. Relatively simple project design. These projects can
be quickly formulated and implemented.
3. Empowerment and increased self-reliance. Credit programmes
can increase the bargaining power of the poor by providing an
alternative to exploitative indebtedness.
4. Organization and group formation. It is easier to promote
organization and mobilization of the poor within the framework
of a credit project than in many types of projects. In this way
the poor can end existing exploitative relationships and also
make their collective voice heard in community affairs and politics.
5. Participation of women. One of the most important advantages
of credit projects over others is the ability to reach out easily
to groups of women, helping them to develop and sustain viable
Source: IFAD, 1991: 9, 14
Even within direct lending strategies, different types of mechanisms
are used to reduce poverty and generate employment and income.
For the purpose of comparison these can be classified as:
* Special commercial bank schemes;
* Intermediary projects that support the poor in borrowing from
* Government-implemented credit schemes;
* Projects that run parallel to but outside of banking systems;
* Poverty-focused development banks.
1. Special commercial bank schemes
Commercial banks generally focus their enterprise lending on large
formal sector businesses. However, some have been encouraged to
lend to `small' enterprises, most commonly defined as those employing
5-50 persons (World Bank, 1987). These commercial banks often
operate what are known as `credit guarantee schemes'. They receive
funds (guaranteed or at low interest) from government or external
agencies which they in turn lend. The basic feature is that the
risk is shared in an agreed proportion between the banks and the
funder. Banks frequently view these as `social' programmes and
operate them as public relations efforts. Evidence indicates that
such schemes work best when lending is given to "creditworthy
clients with good projects who are unable to obtain loans because
of lack of collateral" (ibid.). There is a hesitation on
the part of some banks to undertake such schemes, either because
they lack confidence that their claims will be met if default
occurs or because they fear that such claims will face delay and
thus increase their administrative costs.
A recent trend in such schemes is to focus resources through rural/regional
bank branches in an attempt to reach the more remote producers.
This is in response to finding that geographically unspecified
support often results in resources being concentrated in urban
areas. By the turn of the 1980s, however, commercial bank schemes
had generally failed to reach many poor borrowers, let alone poor
women. Women's participation in bank lending schemes for small
enterprises rarely exceeded 20% (Berger, 1989a). One study
found only 16% of borrowers to be women in an Industrial Bank
of Peru programme (Buvinic and Berger, 1990). The nationwide KUPEDES
programme in Indonesia had granted only 25% of its loans to women,
even though women were 60% of borrowers in the small village bank
programme that served as its model (CPI, 1986). Where national-level
banks have modified their lending procedures in order to reach
the poor, some are beginning to reach women. An example in Nepal
illustrates how this is happening (box 4).
The Agricultural Development Bank: Nepal
The Agricultural Bank of Nepal provides an example of an existing
banking institution that is extending facilities and modifying
procedures in order to serve the poor. Its Small Farmer Development
Project (SFDP), supported by loans from IFAD, is the administrative
umbrella through which small loans are channelled to farmers and
the landless in a number of development initiatives financed by
the Government and different international agencies.
The SFDP administers the funds to various projects, and the bank's
branch offices deliver loans and collect repayments through their
fieldworkers, the group organizers and women's group organizers.
The group organizer is responsible for visiting villages, conducting
household surveys to identify those interested and eligible, and
for forming groups. By 1988 there were 532 women's groups providing
loans to over 4,000 women, compared to 4,667 farmers groups with
42,345 members, mainly men.
Eligibility criteria used in screening loan applicants has been
designed to favour the rural poor, both men and women. The small
size of the loans provided for groups or individuals are within
the women's borrowing capacity, and the activities approved include
those that are attractive to them. Collateral requirements have
been replaced by group liability and peer pressure for repayment.
There is a gradual shift from collateral-based lending to a development
orientation and project viability in order to cater to the needs
of the weaker segments of the population, who have a low resource
Source: Fong and Perrett, 1991
2. Intermediary projects
These projects support the poor in their efforts to borrow from
formal institutions by providing referrals, assistance with loan
applications, training, technical assistance and guarantees to
lenders. They are generally run by non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) or government agencies. Women's World Banking (WWB) is
perhaps the most significant example of this credit strategy,
operating in more than 50 countries. Several governments in Latin
America have also set up intermediary projects along these lines.
One example is the Institute for Development of the Informal Sector
(IDESI) in Peru, which in its first year of operations assisted
over 40,000 small businesses, the majority of them owned by women,
to obtain loans from state-owned banks.
Adopting this approach is not, however, without constraints and
limitations. In Ahmadabad (India), SEWA experienced resistance
from banks that had little patience in dealing with poor women,
an issue mirrored in the Development of Women and Children in
Rural Areas (DWCRA) initiatives in Maharasthra (India). Others,
such as WWB affiliates, have been criticized for an inability
to reach very poor women, especially those in remote rural areas.
This may suggest that the strategy of connecting women to the
banking system has yet to address the needs of the poorest women
for access to credit, even where support from an intermediary
agency exists. Questions remain as to whether such strategies
limit opportunities for bank personnel and poor women to learn
to deal with each other, and whether intermediaries can generate
enough income from their services to become self-sustaining.
3. Government-implemented credit schemes
Where rural banking infrastructure is minimal or non-existent,
as in most of Africa, credit schemes are frequently operated under
line ministries, most often the ministry of agriculture. These
rely primarily on government staff for credit delivery and repayment.
Credit schemes operated by ministries have used a variety of approaches
when trying to integrate women. Some have attempted to retrain
and motivate male staff where social constraints are considered
surmountable, others have hired and deployed female extension
staff or involved other ministries, such as those dealing with
community development. The general conclusion has been, however,
that suitable female field staff are difficult to find and retain
in remote rural areas, and male staff's attitudes and behaviour
are difficult to change. Where workable alternatives have been
found, they most often involve female village-level borrowers
with leadership qualities who are paid on a daily basis for extending
credit to other poor women. These women are usually closer, both
physically and socially, to borrowers than to government extension
staff. Government extension staff sometimes feel that administering
credit has been `tagged on' to their existing job without their
being provided adequate remuneration or training.
In many of these schemes, credit is emphasized and savings mobilization
has been omitted. With the growing awareness of the importance
of savings, IFAD-funded projects, for example, are increasing
their attention to this issue and are now emphasizing strategies
that build on women's traditional savings methods as an option
when collateral is not available. The advantages of such schemes
can be major in terms of encouraging permanent institutional change
within ministries in favour of women. One example of this is illustrated
in the case of Malawi (box 5).
Government-Implemented Direct Credit Scheme:
Government-implemented direct credit schemes can encourage institutional
changes in women's access to credit. In Malawi, women play an
active role in agriculture and about one third of all households
are female headed. The Ministry of Agriculture with support from
IFAD has begun direct credit to meet these women's needs. This
was done initially by direct policy measures and retraining of
female home economics and nutrition extension staff. Due to the
lack of sufficient staff, the male-dominated extension staff was
also instructed to incorporate women into farmers' clubs and groups.
In recognition of the superior repayment record of women, the
Ministry subsequently revised its original operational manual
to place increasing emphasis on direct lending to women. Both
seasonal credit and medium-term credit for farm carts, farm implements,
dairy animals and other investments were made available to women.
By 1986, some 39,500 or 19% of borrowers were women; of these,
38,000 received credit and extension advice in mixed groups. Shortage
of funds for lending and limited numbers and mobility of female
staff have been cited as continuing constraints on project growth.
Source: Fong and Perrett, 1991
4. Parallel projects
Parallel projects provide credit directly to the poor, thus running
alongside but separate from formal banking institutions. These
are most often run by NGOs that have been set up expressly for
the purpose of lending or that have added credit components to
their portfolio of assistance. Given their experience of working
with disadvantaged groups, NGOs are perhaps ideally positioned
to extend credit to the poor. However, their experiences have
varied widely and revolve around the debate between minimalist
credit approaches and `credit plus'--that is, credit combined
with technical assistance, training and marketing links.
The `credit-plus' approach has been justified as a means of increasing
the effective use of credit and improving the productivity of
borrowers (see box 6 for Kenya Women's Finance Trust). It is most
often used where the target group is predominantly female. The
approach does, however, raise the cost and administrative burden
of implementation, thus potentially interfering with the project's
ability to become self-sustaining. Some projects suffer from what
might be called the `error of excess' (Berger, 1989b). Seeing
that credit alone is not enough to raise women out of poverty,
they add interventions that raise costs. Training has been one
such intervention. Poor women will be aware of what the opportunity
cost of training is to them, in terms of the income they are obliged
to forgo during training sessions and other costs, such as transport
and child care. Training needs that emerge out of credit interventions
and from the borrowers themselves are beginning to reveal the
most tangible benefits to women. These needs may be addressed
through training in basic, vocational, business or organizational
The Training Programme of the
Kenya Women's Finance Trust (KWFT)
The KWFT is an affiliate of Women's World Banking. Its programmes
can be split into two basic types: training of women and credit
Although credit has more exposure, the training is considered
the core programme for the Trust. All potential credit recipients
must take the training course as a prerequisite to receiving a
loan. However, training is also given to women who will not be
receiving a loan. A one-week course is provided to all applicants,
with a small fee charged to cover the costs of tea and supplies.
Training is in small groups, whenever possible, for women of similar
educational background and from the same area. The topics covered
are managing a business; setting business objectives; salesmanship;
sales promotion and display/marketing; basic bookkeeping; stock
control; banking/credit; personnel management; planning; legal
awareness; leadership skills and quality control.
The major constraint in running the courses has been the limited
education of the participants. KWFT is developing a training approach
directly attuned to the needs of the illiterate and semi-literate
who form the major part of the potential clientele in the rural
areas. The courses are geared to overcome this problem as much
as possible through using a combination of lectures, drama, role
play and discussions. To date, over 600 women have participated
in the training course, and 75% of these have taken loans. The
women's own evaluation of the courses is that they are extremely
useful but too short.
Source: Fong and Perrett, 1991
Though few studies have compared the minimalist and credit-plus
approaches, a review of several Latin American credit interventions
found that, overall, those providing little or no technical assistance
beyond help in preparing loan applications and keeping basic business
records had as strong an impact on borrower's income as credit-plus
approaches (McKean, 1989). Indeed, highly successful credit
projects such as Associacion Desarrollo de Microempresas in the
Dominican Republic (ADEMI), Grameen in Bangladesh and the credit
unions of Sri Lanka provide little technical business assistance
to their borrowers. One organization that has pioneered this minimalist
approach is Accion. In their approach training and technical assistance
are not major factors prior to borrowing. Training is usually
informal and orientated to problem-solving.
Despite the important achievements of the minimalist approach,
enhancing the productivity and competitiveness of small enterprises
to capture market opportunities often requires more than short-term
capital infusions (Gamser, 1992). The Growth with Equity through
Microenterprise Investments and Institutions (GEMINI) project,
based in the USA, has recently begun looking at ways of altering
the larger business environment in a way that may open up substantial
opportunities for these enterprises. An example of how this might
be done can be seen in a subsector analysis of rattan furniture
production in Java (Indonesia). This revealed the great potential
for export production. However, the reality was that small producers
in central Java could not export by themselves. Helping a larger
export firm to assemble production from artisan producers has
opened up a new market opportunity for hundreds of village-level
craftsmen. Such focused interventions can be effective or complementary
to the provision of credit.
Whether minimalist or credit plus, parallel credit projects
have exhibited several factors that make them more accessible
to women than the other credit mechanisms mentioned above.
These factors include frequent repayment schedules, alternatives
to collateral through inter-guarantee systems, use of information
channels accessible to women, simple application forms and procedures,
and location of lending operations close to the women's workplace.
Parallel credit projects have found also that women's participation
tends to be highest in those that utilize solidarity group mechanisms
and principles found in traditional credit mechanisms (box 7).
Solidarity Group Mechanisms and Women's Traditional Savings/Credit
Women's solidarity groups generally come together for credit,
and only rarely develop into group productive activities. Such
groups are often based on 5 to 12 women joining together to guarantee
each others' loans, and in some cases to administer lending, repayments
This mechanism provides a character-based substitute for collateral.
It may also reduce the time and administrative costs of lending.
Most successful solidarity group projects allow the participants
to decide who will be a member of a particular group. Deciding
to participate is usually done on the basis of mutual respect
and trust. Such solidarity groups have also become the entry points
and forums for tackling local issues of concern in health, education,
child-care provision and women's rights. Utilizing a solidarity
group approach can reduce the cost of credit delivery and provide
the potential for rapid expansion through a horizontal process--group
Women throughout the developing world have traditions of group
savings and credit which contain some of the elements of solidarity
groups. These most commonly take the form of self-managing savings
of money or staple food items, which women contribute to the group
at regular intervals. The pooled amount is then distributed in
an agreed order. Though necessarily small in scale, they are a
clear indication of poor women's abilities to save and manage
finance. Several innovative NGO projects began by first studying
these in a regional or country context, then using them as a starting
point for introducing unfamiliar aspects of more formalized credit
mechanisms to poor women's solidarity groups (Women's Help Groups,
Sri Lanka; CIDSE, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam; Catholic Relief
Services, Thailand; Accion, Latin America).
While parallel credit projects tend to reach poor women in greater
proportion than other mechanisms, their limitations are often
expressed in relation to their small scale and lack of sustainability.
The issue of scale has been most acute where international NGOs
have operationalized a project. These interventions have often
concentrated heavily on successful delivery and recovery of loans
at the expense of developing organizational capacity. These contrast
with several local NGOs that have built democratic membership
organizations while delivering credit (SEWA and Working Women's
Forum (WWF), India; Women's Help Groups, Sri Lanka).
5. Poverty-focused development banks
Some parallel programmes have grown in scale to such an extent
that they have become known as poverty-focused banks. They are
in most cases officially registered as banks or cooperatives,
but their exclusive mandate to lend to the poor differentiates
them from commercial banks. They reach a very large number of
borrowers with credit and savings services. The best known of
these is the Grameen Bank for the landless in rural Bangladesh
(box 8). SEWA in India can also be included in this category,
as can the Working Women's Credit Society of the WWF in Tamil
Nadu (India). Besides catering to borrowers, these banks tend
to have well-formulated savings schemes for the poor, dispelling
the myth that the poor are unable to save.
A Poverty-focused Development Bank--
Grameen Bank, Bangladesh
Grameen Bank aims to make credit available to the landless and
near-landless women and men of Bangladesh. It began as an action-research
project of Chittagong University and a number of public sector
banks in 1976. In 1983, it became a specialized banking institution.
It functions on an impressive scale, with over 600 branches covering
14,000 villages by 1989. Some 71% of borrowers are women, and
the repayment rate on loans is 98%. Clearly, Grameen's success
in extending credit is indisputable. It operates on a multi-tiered
structure consisting of a head office, zonal offices, area offices,
branch offices and, at the lowest level, groups and banking centres.
People organize themselves at the local level into groups of five,
then six of these groups join to form a banking centre. Groups
are not formed on the basis of similar activities, but spatial
and social closeness have emerged as a premise for well-functioning,
cohesive groups. There are clear and simple rules that guide the
centre groups, and all financial transactions are conducted openly
in front of members. No fixed asset collateral is required for
loans, alternatively peer pressure and savings are used to ensure
repayment. New members must attend a training course of seven
consecutive days prior to becoming members.
Within the group rules and regulations, the centres are quite
autonomous in their decision-making and there has been an increasing
interest in tackling local needs for basic services. UNICEF's
support has helped to prepare bank workers and centre leaders
for such activities. It is unclear whether existing staff who
are required to service credit delivery can also cover these activities.
The challenge for Grameen in future may include ways of involving
greater participation of the poor within its hierarchies to enable
such activities to become widespread.
Documentation of Grameen's development has also contributed to
the reorientation of development thinking on key issues, such
as poor people's participation (see Fuglesang and Chandler, 1987;
Some such poverty-focused development banks operate on an impressive
scale and could offer clues about how to expand the reach of other
smaller, parallel credit strategies. For example, these mechanisms
encourage and support their small credit groups to network with
each other in order to secure their future, thus building a `movement'
rather than isolated free-standing credit groups, which are most
common within parallel credit mechanisms. Understanding how to
incorporate groups into successful movements is one issue that
deserves further study.
Credit is increasingly a key element in development strategies.
The use of credit, however, varies widely among development agencies.
In a general sense, parallel credit mechanisms and poverty-focused
development banks, with limitations, seem to show the strongest
potential for reaching the poorest women. Those that have reached
a significant scale have, in most cases, required 8-10 years'
development. Nonetheless, experiences in all strategies teach
that if lenders are to reach the poor they must revise features
of formal lending and adopt aspects of informal and traditional
mechanisms. The use of solidarity group mechanisms is one illustration
of this that magnifies the importance of women's participation.
The most successful programmes do not merely deliver credit but
involve the beneficiaries in decisions and management of the project.
One of the clear lessons illustrated by the PANOS Institute and
confirmed by IFAD is that no single credit model is `the best'
to reach the poor in all situations.
Despite recent progress, systematic and comparative evaluations
of the impact of credit on women is uneven and thus inadequate.
This reflects the lack of effective measurement tools that relate
to the goals of interventions.
Credit programmes with poverty-alleviation goals must not only
evaluate increases in job opportunities and income, but must also
look carefully at indirect consequences of interventions. In
this respect, it is essential to consider the inelastic nature
of women's labour and the possibility that interventions will
actually increase their labour both within the market and the
household, and the consequences this may have on the welfare of
Women often cite as a priority the future of their children and
the stability of their family. Any attempt to analyse whether
credit has led to improvements must, therefore, be looked at from
this family perspective. Women do not always determine the effect
of credit by looking at how much their business has grown or how
much profit has been made. Increased income is often channelled
into family welfare. It may have resulted from the woman's changing
from the local moneylender to borrowing from a credit-oriented
development project. The change in interest rates alone can thus
result in a better income for women, but an analysis of her business
alone might not reveal this. Incorporating these issues into evaluations
may help to clarify the impact of programmes with a poverty alleviation
focus. Participatory approaches to evaluation which involve the
women themselves in determining the important effects of the programme
should be encouraged.
2. Complementing credit
Even if credit is made available to an increasing number of poor
women, it cannot be regarded as a panacea for all ills. In addition
to financial interventions, other complementary activities should
be supported. These may include addressing strategic needs
such as advocacy. These, in turn, could include issues such as
fixed locations for informal sector vendors or reducing red tape
in licensing, registering and taxing businesses. The solution
to such government-imposed constraints cannot be found in credit
or training activities. Rather, the ability of women to lobby
on their own behalf is important, as is the possible broker role
that development agencies can play through provision of services
that the women themselves cannot afford.
These tasks are in contrast to poor women's practical needs
for complementary activities to credit. Most often these relate
to the caretaking of children, elderly or handicapped family members,
as well as other domestic and community responsibilities. If the
poorest women are to be supported in their productive role, strategies
that help them balance their domestic responsibilities should
be simultaneously developed. These have the greatest chance of
success when the women themselves are involved in the decisions
about what complementary activities are most appropriate. Indeed,
the important issue is not what complementary activity is provided,
but how the activity is determined and implemented. Participation
of the women themselves in determining what and how these are
provided is key if they are to be maintained and sustained.
III. UNICEF'S EXPERIENCE IN SUPPORTING WOMEN'S
UNICEF has been involved in supporting women's productive and
income-generating activities for several decades. The ways in
which it has done this reflect the evolution of the organization's
approaches to women in development generally. Prior to and during
the 1970s approaches were distinctly welfare-oriented. During
the early 1980s, UNICEF began a gradual shift towards development-oriented
activities encompassed by the basic services strategy. Several
early examples of this shift included support to the training
components of the Grameen Bank, credit projects in Nepal Small
Farmers Development Programme (SFDP) and Productive Credit for
Rural Women (PCRW), women's gardening groups in Senegal and small-scale
enterprise support in Colombia (box 9). These practical interventions
provided experience on which to base the policy shift that later
developed. The United Nations Decade for Women (1975-1985) and
the Nairobi Conference also contributed to this change.
Training and Development for Small Enterprises--Servicio Nacional
de Aprendizaje (SENA):
UNICEF entered negotiations with the National Vocational Training
Institute (SENA) in 1981 intent on establishing a training and
credit project for poor women in the south-east zone of Cartagena.
It was one of three projects in Colombia implemented through state
agencies in an attempt to influence institutional change for poor
women in the informal sector.
The UNICEF proposal was not initially accepted. SENA had established
itself as an institute focused mainly on training for formal sector
businesses. SENA officials were sceptical about the possibilities
for success in assisting women in the informal sector. After a
long period of negotiations, two SENA officials were sent on a
study-visit to informal sector credit projects in Cali and Medellin
as a last attempt to relax their resistance. This bore fruit,
and SENA presented its own proposal for a project. In the view
of UNICEF, this represented an opportunity to initiate institutional
changes that were fundamental to their regional objectives.
The project became incorporated into SENA's organizational structure
through the establishment of three departments for implementation.
Training courses began that included accounting, administration,
technical skills, marketing and organizational issues. Participation
and commitment to implement investment plans under supervision
replaced traditional collateral requirements for credit. Loans
were given at 24% interest, equivalent to the softest credit available
on the financial market. Repayments in 18 monthly instalments
began after an initial grace period of three months. Though capital
for lending was contributed initially by UNICEF, the influence
of the project led the Government to establish a line of credit
for informal sector enterprises.
UNICEF's support thus represents a major step in institutional
change for the benefit of poor women. The ability of the project
to go to scale, its financial sustainability and the relative
cost advantage of its emphasis on training may require further
The major policy `leap' was made in 1985/86 when women's multidimensional
roles and responsibilities were specified as a priority area,
giving distinct recognition to women's issues in their own right
(UNICEF, 1985, 1986 and 1988). The new policy outlined the need
to move away from isolated women's projects towards the objective
of integration. The policy was complemented by an implementation
strategy and operational guidelines agreed by the UNICEF Executive
Board in 1987.
The application in individual countries of these policy guidelines
has been influenced by the particular situation of women, varying
sociocultural traditions, legal norms, government commitment and
strengths of national institutions to promote the advancement
of women. Regional experiences in supporting income-generating
activities, therefore, have varied in emphasis and approach but
recognize a common set of key issues: heavy workloads, inadequate
incomes, limited access to credit and unfavourable disparities
in social, legal and political status and participation.
A. Income-Generating Activities by Region
The following gives an overview of UNICEF's support by region
to income-generating activities up until the end of the 1980s.
1. Latin America and the Caribbean
The context of the economic and political crisis in the Americas
has influenced UNICEF's increasing focus on the socio-economic
conditions of women. The reality is that while the male labour
force doubled between 1950 and 1980, the female labour force grew
by nearly three times, the greatest increase being amongst the
poorest (Berger, 1989b; Buvinic and Yudelman, 1989).
UNICEF has responded at the regional and country programming levels.
A regional perspective on women in development comes from the
Regional Programme for Women's Empowerment and Development (RPWED).
This programme reviews, conceptualizes and defines strategies,
and links these to country-level initiatives through designated
persons who act as focal points. UNICEF has prioritized its areas
of work as advocacy, institutionalization, economic activities,
organization and basic services. This has resulted in part from
regular and constructive evaluations, which have helped to point
its efforts towards providing a package of services to women.
This `package' addresses three levels: the national macrolevel
need for change through advocacy, the need to build sustainable
institutional support and the microlevel need for quality programming.
The region takes the perspective that women's economic activities
are a way of supporting the struggle for women's rights by giving
them increased control over their lives. This is most evident
in the Americas, although more recently country programmes in
the Caribbean such as the programme in Jamaica are incorporating
this perspective. An example is the interregional PROANDES initiative
in which indigenous populations are supported to undertake productive
and other activities.
Institutionalizing support has taken place both at the financial
and administrative levels. Having specified internally that projects
should not depend solely on its funds, UNICEF has supported institutionalization.
In the case of Colombia, lines of credit have been designated
by the Government for women's small enterprises, and innovative
lending characteristics have begun to infiltrate the formal lending
institutes. For example, women's participation in training has
in one case replaced traditional collateral requirements on loans,
and new banking procedures developed by projects have reduced
time in securing loans.
UNICEF's regional experience in using credit mechanisms in income-generating
activities is diverse. The organization supports a range of initiatives
that could provide useful comparisons between minimalist approaches
(Brazil, Peru) and `credit plus' (Ecuador, Colombia).
Inter-country exchanges of experience are being used to strengthen
UNICEF-supported income-generating activities. These have extended
beyond a focus on credit mechanisms. Mexico adopted Peru's initiatives
of community kitchens in low-income neighbourhoods in Lima to
meet the needs of the poor affected by adjustment. Bolivia has
assisted with the training of peasant women in Venezuela, and
Venezuela has helped Haiti to programme with NGOs.
During the 1980s the economic recession, debt, natural disasters,
migration and armed conflict in the region seriously undermined
basic services for women, increased their workload and intensified
their need for income. UNICEF's response to the critical needs
of women was, in many countries (Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya,
Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zaire), through an integrated approach.
By the end of the decade Ethiopia had gone the furthest: women-specific
projects had been eliminated and issues of women's health, education,
work burden, income, productivity and participation were integrated
into all sectoral programmes.
Household food and economic security has emerged as a major priority,
and programmes have been initiated in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Malawi,
Nigeria and Tanzania. However, most countries, particularly in
West Africa, have responded to the challenge with relatively small-scale
projects of vegetable gardening, food processing and distribution.
The need for evaluations has been identified in order to assess
the impact of these projects on family well-being and their potential
for going to scale within mainstream development (UNICEF, 1990a).
Some country programmes have begun analyses and assessments of
women's economic activities for the 1990s (Burundi, Kenya, Namibia
and Zambia). These revealed difficulties in the use of credit
in areas where there are weak marketing links and poor infrastructure
(see box 10 for Namibia), as well as a lack of technical backstopping
in Burundi. In these areas the productive base has not been created
to allow for effective use of credit, and institutions for credit
delivery are weak. This contrasts with market centres where credit
is introduced as a means of support for women in the informal
sector. In a recent review by the regional office for Eastern
and Southern Africa, UNICEF identified the objective of sustainability
as key to successful credit programmes. This has been strengthened
by strategies suggested in `Women, Credit and Savings' (Mirero,
1990) in which UNICEF is encouraged to "adopt one consistent
approach in assisting women micro entrepreneurs in the region"
(ibid.: 42) of East and Southern Africa.
Progress was made where strategies to reduce women's workloads
have been introduced. These have included technologies, such as
grinding mills, and improved stoves and carts. Overall, in UNICEF
country programmes there is an increasing attempt to address the
matrix of support needs required for successful income generation
that does not further burden women. An example of such a programme
is the Rural Integrated Basic Services (RIBS), in Ethiopia, where
child-care centres have been established out of the profits from
flour mills and horticultural projects.
In West and Central Africa, advocacy for institutional change
has become a focus of country programmes (Cape Verde, Mali, Niger,
Zaire). Advocacy for the removal of legal, procedural and attitudinal
constraints has also been highlighted in UNICEF's Eastern and
Southern Africa Regional Office's 1989 meeting on women's economic
3. Middle East and North Africa
The focus of UNICEF in this region has been primarily on health
and education needs. Gender-related disparities from birth have
been documented (UNICEF, 1990c), resulting in an increasing emphasis
on the needs of the girl child.
Within the context of firmly entrenched sensitivities and social
norms regarding women in this region, some progress in supporting
women's economic activities has been made in Egypt, Morocco, the
Sudan and Syria. Most have focused on food production and handicrafts.
With the exception of Egypt and Sudan, activities have tended
to be small in scale and somewhat isolated.
In Egypt, a revolving fund has been established that extends capital
to rural banks in 65 pilot villages. The rural banks then make
loans available to local women. In the Sudan, loans in kind and
support services are provided through government departments in
Kordofan to women in 153 villages.
In summary, a regional perspective and impetus for supporting
women's economic activities in this region is not yet clearly
The UNICEF programmes in Asia vary widely, reflecting the cultural
and economic diversity within the region. UNICEF's country-level
presence is in many cases very large and has developed over several
decades in some countries, such as in India. Country-specific
perspectives, therefore, predominate.
Overall, programmes reflect UNICEF's policy of integrated approaches.
Small isolated income-generating projects have become fewer, and
UNICEF has become increasingly involved in `holistic' programming
aimed at both the social and economic needs of poor women. In
Indonesia, for example, massive mobilization for CSD has been
combined with credit and literacy programmes supported by the
People's Bank of Indonesia. Integration has also been an element
of the Nepal programmes (PCRW and SFDP) in which a successful
credit approach is used as a vehicle for introducing cross-sectoral
goals. In Bangladesh, UNICEF has supported the integration of
CSD and social development activities into the Grameen Bank's
credit initiative, and the Grameen model is being used to help
frame the credit programme in the Philippines. Also, in Myanmar,
UNICEF is indicating moves to include credit for rural women.
Evaluations of UNICEF support to income-generating activities
in Sikkim (India) reveal that within some integrated programmes,
income-generating activities are weak. Women were not involved
in determining what was to be produced, and access to raw materials
and marketing possibilities were not locally available.
UNICEF support to income-generating activities in this region
increasingly focuses on intensifying its advocacy and catalytic
role in mobilizing national efforts and other development partners.
In 1988, UNICEF's Programme Division published Women, Poverty
and Access to Credit: Innovative Approaches, by Poona Wignaraja,
as a Staff Working Paper3. The strength of this document
is in its overview of successful approaches to women's projects
in South Asia and the essential features and lessons it draws
out. Such production and dissemination of information is one way
UNICEF is working towards improvements in support to women's economic
UNICEF in Mongolia and Viet Nam has supported quality crèche
facilities for the children of women workers. In the early 1990s,
UNICEF also made significant progress in supporting women's production
through credit mechanisms in both Cambodia and Viet Nam.
UNICEF is involved in a wide array of support to women's productive
activities. These fall generally into the following categories:
1. Strategic issues
* advocacy for policy and legislative changes
* institutionalization and capacity-building
2. Practical issues
* credit and savings mechanisms
* labour-saving technologies
* child-care development and support
* skills and business training.
Through its support, UNICEF highlights the matrix of needs that
must be addressed in order for interventions to be successful
and not further burden women.
Traditional income-generating projects and components of programmes
continue to exist in many UNICEF country programmes. The overall
impact of these on the development and welfare of poor families
remains unclear. Many programmes concede that they are not generating
significant increases in income, but they claim that there are
other social benefits resulting from their income-generating activities.
Perhaps the most significant of these has been the opportunity
for women to meet regularly, build solidarity, share ideas, interface
with local officials and development personnel, and better understand
their country's political and power systems. Important psychological
benefits have been observed in that women participating in these
programmes tend to develop an improved sense of self-worth and
self-esteem. In some cases women leaders have emerged and developed
their skills and knowledge. It is as yet unclear whether such
opportunities feed into a process of longer-term, large-scale
change by providing the impetus for locally motivated change by
and for women.
Where clear country or regional strategies for supporting women's
economic activities exist, certain mechanisms predominate. Overall,
there is increasing emphasis on credit mechanisms, with simultaneous
recognition of their limitations in areas with weak market economies
and/or weak institutions for credit delivery. No single specific
credit approach is promoted by UNICEF, although support for government-implemented
credit schemes and poverty-focused banks have predominated to
date. This may be because of UNICEF's dual priorities of institutionalizing
sustainable systems of support and going to scale. However, there
are also many cases where UNICEF has provided support to NGOs
undertaking small experimental credit projects. There is clearly
a recognition by much of UNICEF as to the benefits of approaches
based on solidarity groups.
UNICEF has played a key role in promoting the use of the `entry-point'
concept. Large-scale credit projects have been utilized as entry
points for introducing a wide range of support services in health,
education and basic services. Conversely, widespread health initiatives
such as CSD have allowed the introduction of new types of credit
mechanisms in some areas. This is increasingly being seen as a
practical strategy for promoting integrated development.
Two questions remain:
1) Should UNICEF's organizational strategies of support to
women's productive activities be hinged on complementing the support
being given by other organizations, supporting experimental initiatives
and/or advocacy for legal and institutional change? Existing experiences
demonstrate the importance of all of these.
2) What is UNICEF's primary objective in supporting women's
productive activities? Is it empowerment of women or improvement
in child and family welfare? Though these need not be incompatible,
they do have implications for the choice of strategies, mechanisms
and target groups.
IV. WOMEN, WORK AND THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN4
Development agencies, such as UNICEF, that are concerned with
child survival and development and undertake support to women's
productive activities frequently ask themselves: Does mothers'
work result in an improvement or a deterioration in the health
and welfare of children? This is an increasingly crucial question
because the nature of women's work is changing: more poor women
are working away from home and more are earning a cash income.
Most of these women are of child-bearing age.
Several significant research studies have attempted to address
this question (Bennett, 1988; Leslie, 1986; Rogers and Youssef,
1988; Abbi, et al, 1991). In doing so, most begin by acknowledging
that the reality for the majority of poor women of reproductive
age is that they must, for survival, combine some form of income-producing
work with caring for their children. Few poor women have the option
to devote themselves exclusively to raising children, even during
the first year after childbirth. Thus, the poor nutrition among
the children of working mothers cited in some studies may well
be due to the conditions of poverty that drove the mothers to
work in the first place. This situation of poverty and forced
productivity may well have adverse affects on women's own health
as well, though this seems to be less well documented.
Perhaps the most significant review of empirical evidence about
the link between mothers' work and child nutrition has been done
by J. Leslie. After reviewing 50 studies, she concludes, "No
consistent pattern of a negative or a positive relationship either
between women's work and infant feeding practices, or between
women's work and child nutritional status, is evident" (Leslie,
Interestingly, in an earlier review (Cochrane, Leslie, O'Hara,
1982) a significantly positive relationship between maternal education
and child nutrition and welfare was established. The authors conclude
that the relation between maternal work and child nutrition/welfare
is more complex. Women's work, unlike their educational status,
is not fixed, but can and usually does vary over time. A further
complication is that both directions of causality are possible:
a child's nutritional status may influence the mother's decision
about work, just as a mother's decision about work may affect
the nutritional status of her child (Carloni, 1984).
In Leslie's findings the prevalence of breastfeeding was not significantly
different between employed and not employed mothers. The most
consistent effect of maternal employment on infant feeding practices
was to cause mothers to shift earlier from exclusive breastfeeding
to mixed feeding (Akin, et al. 1981; O'Gara, 1988; Soekirman,
1983; Vial and Muchnic, 1988; Winikoff, et al., 1986).
The research on the relation between mothers' work and child
nutrition and welfare has, however, consistently revealed two
critical factors that affect children:
* The age of the substitute child caregivers; and
* Resource allocation within the household.
Those studies that have explicitly considered issues of child
care have consistently found that children who are cared for by
adults when their mothers are working have better nutritional
status than children cared for by another child. There is also
growing evidence that maternal employment caused by poverty can
have deleterious effects on the opportunity for older girl children
to attend school. However, many poor women have no option but
to leave their young children in the care of older, and most often
Child-care responsibilities during a woman's reproductive years
are increasingly being recognized as a major reason for the high
proportion of women in informal sector jobs (Lycette and White,
1989). These jobs may be low paying and insecure, but they generally
offer the flexibility that formal sector employment does not.
The location of work is often in or near the home, and the hours
of work are frequently self-determined. To women with small children
these factors are often considered essential.
The second factor cited above contends that one of the most ethnocentric
assumptions commonly made in research on nutrition is that all
household members share the same priorities and decision-making
power about the use of time and resources (Bennett, 1988). Indeed,
men and women often have separate, culturally designated obligations
to meet different needs within and beyond the conjugal family.
The conclusion is that it is unclear if patterns of decision-making
at the household level are comparatively more significant to child
nutrition/welfare than issues of maternal employment. What it
does do, however, is underscore the common responsibility of men
and women in the upbringing of children. One study in a rural
area of Maharasthra (India) indicates poverty as the key issue.
This research revealed that "the working status of mothers
appeared to have a deteriorating effect on the health and nutrition
of their children" (Abbi, et al., 1991: 23). The authors
add, however, that "it should be stressed that most of the
working mothers had little or no access to the income they generated,
[and in any case] the poor nutritional status of the children
in these families is due mainly to the lack of money" (ibid.:
In summary, research to date shows that the range of issues involved
have not been sufficiently studied to allow for a direct correlation
between maternal employment and child nutrition and welfare to
be established. The reality is, however, that the majority of
women in developed and developing countries confront the need
to combine their productive role with the care and nurturing of
children. For the poorest children, it would appear that nutritional
deficiencies may well be due to conditions of poverty that led
their mothers to seek work in the first place. Issues concerning
the age of the substitute child caregiver, the location and time
spent at work and the control of resource allocation within the
household are factors that may prove to have the most direct impact
on children. Such issues have implications for agencies that are
concerned with child welfare and women's role in production. Strictly
economic approaches and analyses of women's productive activities
which do not take these issues into account may prove of limited
benefit to women and their children.
V. HIGHLIGHTS OF KEY ISSUES
There is a general move by development agencies away from the
use of the phrase `income-generating activities' because it continues
to conjure up images of women undertaking marginal economic activities
far removed from gender issues and the goal of women's empowerment.
`Support to women's productive activities' may more clearly reflect
the growing trend in UNICEF towards using directly economic tools
(such as credit or skills training) and complementary services
(such as child care or labour-saving devices).
B. Policy Implications
The predominant model of intervention by UNICEF is aimed at addressing
specific health and welfare issues through effective service delivery.
It is therefore difficult for programmes to address the empowerment
side of women's development. This suggests that there is need
to clarify to what extent resources will be designated to women's
productive activities as a strategy towards empowerment. In 1991,
a total of only 4.43% of total general resources and supplementary
funds was expended on `women's projects', most of which are for
income-generating activities. In addition, UNICEF has supported
women's productive activities through their urban and rural area-based
C. Clarifying Strategies
Supporting women's productive activities demands holistic strategies
that combine both the practical and strategic needs of women and
their children. The choice of strategies and methodologies of
intervention depends to an important degree on clarifying the
objective of supporting productive activities within UNICEF's
overall mandate and a clear definition of the target group. Rather
than debating the merits and disadvantages of each type of intervention
and programme, it may be best to first step back and answer three
1. What is the objective of supporting women's productive activities
within UNICEF programmes: women's empowerment, improved welfare
of children and the family, or a combination of these?
2. Who, specifically, are the intended beneficiaries? Do we want
primarily to reach the poorest, and if so, are credit mechanisms
a realistic option for doing this? Or do we accept programmes
that bring economic results, such as increased income/credit repayment,
but that may exclude the poorest?
3. Where does UNICEF best fit in within the spectrum of agencies
involved in promoting women's productive activities? How should
it prioritize strategies such as:
* complementing the support being given by other agencies;
* supporting experimental initiatives; and/or
* advocating for legal and institutional change.
If supporting experimental initiatives is prioritized and credit
is chosen as a tool, it may be important to determine regionally
what credit methodologies and mechanisms will be emphasized. This
presumes a knowledge and information base on credit interventions.
The extent to which this exists or needs to be strengthened should
be determined in the near future.
D. Children and Caregiving
A woman's reproductive years most often coincide with the time
she makes the greatest contribution to economic production. She
enters these years at a disadvantage if her education has been
limited by the burden of work during girlhood. This work often
involves the care of younger siblings, who themselves may suffer
from this inadequate care arrangement. The situation is one in
which the daughter's future is mortgaged for present survival.
A window of opportunity may exist by freeing up girl children
restricted by their role as substitute caregivers, thus enabling
them to increase their education and skills for the future.
Abbi, R., et al. 1991. `The Impact of Maternal Work Status on
the Nutritional and Health Status of Children', in Food and
Nutrition Bulletin, 13(1).
Accion International. 1988. An Operational Guide for Micro
Enterprise Projects, Accion International, Cambridge, MA.
Akin, J., et al. 1981. `The Determinants of Breastfeeding in Sri
Lanka', Demography, 18: 287-307.
Albee, A., and K.D. Reid. 1991. `Women and Urban Credit in Sri
Lanka', in Women, Poverty and Family Survival, Centre for
Women's Research, Colombo.
Bennett, L. 1988. `The Role of Women in Income Production and
Intrahousehold Allocation of Resources as a Determinant of Child
Nutrition and Health', in Food and Nutrition Bulletin,
Berger, Marguerite. 1989a. `Giving Women Credit: The Strengths
and Limitations of Credit as a Tool for Alleviating Poverty',
in World Development, 17(7).
--------. 1989b. An Introduction, in Women's Ventures: Assistance
to the Informal Sector in Latin America, Kumarian Press, West
Hartford, CT, 1-18.
Berger, Marguerite, and Mayra Buvinic (eds.). 1989. Women's
Ventures: Assistance to the Informal Sector in Latin America,
Kumarian Press, West Hartford, CT.
Brydon, L., and S. Chant. 1989. Women in the Third World: Gender
Issues in Rural and Urban Areas, Rutgers University Press,
New Brunswick, NJ.
Buvinic, M., and M. Berger. 1990. `Sex Differences in Access to
a Small Enterprise Development Fund in Peru', in World Development,
Buvinic, M., and S. Yudelman. 1989. Women, Poverty and Progress
in the Third World, Headline Series, No. 289, Foreign Policy
Association, New York.
Carloni, A.S. 1984. `The Impact of Maternal Employment and Income
on the Nutritional Status of Children in Rural Areas of Developing
Countries: What is known, what is not known, where the gaps are',
a report prepared for FAO, Administrative Committee on Coordination,
Subcommittee on Nutrition, Rome.
Center for Policy and Implementation (CPI). 1986. Untitled report.
CEPAL. 1984. La Mujer en el Sector Urbano: America Latina y
el Caribe, Santiago, Chile.
Cochrane, A.S., J. Leslie, and D.J. O'Hara. 1982. `Parental Education
and Child Health: Intra Country Evidence', in Health Policy
and Education, 2: 213-250.
Devereux, S., and H. Pares. 1987. A Manual on Credit and Savings
for the Poor of Developing Countries, OXFAM (UK).
Enterprise Development Center. 1992. Small Enterprise Development
Journal, Intermediate Technology Publications, London, 3 (1).
Fong, M., and H. Perrett. 1991. Women and Credit, FINAFRICA,
Cariplo Press, Milan.
Fuglesang, A., and D. Chandler. 1987. Participation as Process:
What We Can Learn from the Grameen Bank, Bangladesh, Norwegian
Ministry of Development Cooperation.
Gamser, M. 1992. `Sub-sector Analysis: a Macro Analytical Tool
for Micro Enterprise Support', in Small Enterprise Development
Journal, 3(1), op. cit.
Ghai, D. 1988. `Participatory Development: Some Perspectives from
Grassroots Experience', United Nations Research Institute for
Social Development, Discussion Paper 5.
Gittinger, J., et al. 1990. `Household Food Security and the Role
of Women', World Bank Discussion Paper, Washington, D.C.
Grameen Bank. 1990. Training Guide, Grameen Bank, Dhaka.
Harper, M. 1992. `The Critical Factors for the Success of Cooperatives
and other Entreprises', in Small Enterprise Development Journal,
3(1), op. cit.
Hoorweg, J., and R. Niemeijer. 1989. Intervention in Child
Nutrition: Evaluation Studies in Kenya, Kegan Paul International.
Huffman, S. 1986. Women's Activities and Child Nutrition: A
Review of the Literature, American Public Health Association,
Hurley, D. 1991. Income Generating Schemes for the Urban Poor,
Development Guidelines Series No.4, OXFAM (UK).
IFAD. 1991. Declaration in Support of the Economic Advancement
of Women, IFAD. Rome.
Jackelen, H.R. 1989. `Improving the Use of Credit in the UNCDF
Programme', unpublished paper, UNCDF, New York.
Landers, C., and A. Leonard (eds.). 1992. `Women, Work and the
Need for Child Care', UNICEF Staff Working Paper 10, UNICEF, New
Leslie, J. 1986. `The Cost and Time Savings to Women of the Child
Survival Revolution', paper prepared for ICRW, Washington, D.C.
Leslie, J. and M. Paolisso (eds.). 1989. Women, Work and Child
Welfare in the Third World, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.
Lycette, M., and K. White. 1989. Improving Women's Access to Credit:
Policy and Project Recommendation, in Berger and Buvinic (eds.),
Women's Ventures: Assistance to the Informal Sector in Latin
America, op. cit., 19-44.
MacCormack, C. 1988. Health and the Social Power of Women,
Pergamon Press, Tarrytown, NY.
McKean, Cressida S. 1989. `Training and Technical Assistance for
Small and Microbusinesses', in Berger and Buvinic (eds.), Women's
Ventures, op. cit., 102-120.
Mirero, S. 1990. `Women, Credit and Savings', consultancy report
prepared for The Women's Development Programme, UNICEF Eastern
and Southern Africa Regional Office, Nairobi.
Moser, C. 1985. Gender Planning in the Third World: Meeting
Practical and Strategic Needs, Pergamon Press, Tarrytown,
Mwarania, K.M. 1991. `Report on a consultancy on Income Generating
Activities for Women', mimeo, UNICEF, Namibia.
Nelson, N. 1979. `Productive and Income Generating Activities
for Third World Women', UNICEF Knowledge Network on Women, Paper
3, UNICEF Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean,
O'Gara, Chloe. 1988. `Breastfeeding and Maternal Employment in
Urban Honduras', in Women's Work and Child Welfare in the Third
World, manuscript, International Centre for Research on Women,
Panos Institute. 1989. Banking the Unbankable: Bringing Credit
to the Poor, Panos Institute, London.
Rogers, B., and N. Youssef. 1988. `The Importance of Women's Involvement
in Economic Activities in the Improvement of Child Nutrition and
Health', in Food and Nutrition Bulletin: 10(3).
Soekirman. 1983. `Women's Work and its Effects on Child Nutritional
Status in Central Java', paper presented at the 18th International
Conference on Nutrition, Brighton, England, 18-23 August.
UNICEF. 1985. E/ICEF/85, `Selected Case Studies on Programmes
for Women Supported by UNICEF', Economic and Social Council, United
Nations, New York.
--------. 1986. E/ICEF/86/P/L.26, `Regional Programme for Women's
--------. 1988. E/ICEF/88/L.1, `Progress Report on Achievements
Made in the Implementation of UNICEF Policy on Women in Development'.
--------. 1989a. `Technical Training and Credit for Women, A Right
not a Gift: Three Case Studies in Colombia, Latin America and
the Caribbean', UNICEF Regional Office for Latin America and the
--------. 1989b. `Women's Economic Activities and Integration
Networks, Eastern and Southern Africa', UNICEF Regional Office
for Eastern and Southern Africa.
--------. 1990a. `Development Goals and Strategies for Children
in the 1990s', Policy Review Paper, UNICEF, New York.
--------. 1990b. `Progress Report on Achievements Made in the
Implementation of UNICEF Policy on Women in Development', Economic
and Social Council, United Nations, New York.
--------. 1990c. `Activities Relating to Women in the Middle East
and North Africa Region', Internal Report, UNICEF Regional Office
for the Middle East and North Africa.
--------. 1991. `Progress on the Achievements Made in the Implementation
of UNICEF Policy on Women in Development', Economic and Social
Council, United Nations, New York.
UNIFEM. 1991. `Operational Guidelines for Credit Projects and
Those with Credit Components' (Draft Document).
Vial, I., and E. Muchnic. 1988. `Women's Market Work, Infant Feeding
Practices and Infant Nutrition among Low Income Women in Santiago,
Chile', Women's Work and Child Welfare in the Third World,
manuscript, International Centre for Women's Research, Chapter
Wignaraja, P. 1990. Women, Poverty and Access to Credit: Innovative
Approaches, Sage, New Delhi.
Winikoff, B., et al. 1986. `The Infant Feeding Study: Nairobi
Site Report', paper prepared for the US Agency for International
Development, Office of Nutrition, Washington, D.C.
Women's World Banking. 1989. `The Credit Guaranteed Mechanism
for Improving Women's Access to Bank Loans', 174-184.
World Bank. 1987. `Credit Guarantee Schemes for Small and Medium
Enterprises', Technical Paper No. 58, Industry and Finance Series,
World Bank, Washington, D.C.
- UNICEF, New York, N.Y., USA
- Copyright © 1994
- United Nations Children's Fund
- 3 UN Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10017, USA
- ISBN: 92-806-3120-9, July 1994
Evaluation and Research Working Papers are working documents.
They present new ideas, innovative approaches, case studies, bibliographies
and research results, prepared either by UNICEF staff or by consultants
or others supported by UNICEF. Their purpose is to facilitate
the rapid exchange of knowledge and perspectives among field offices
and to stimulate discussions.
This typescript has not been edited to official publications standards
and UNICEF accepts no responsibility for errors. The contents
of this working paper do not necessarily reflect the policies
or the views of UNICEF.
The designations employed in this publication and the presentation
of the material do not imply on the part of the United Nations
Children's Fund the expression of any opinion whatsoever concerning
the legal status of any country or territory, or of its authorities,
or the delimitations of its frontiers.
This paper has been commissioned by the Evaluation and Research
Office, UNICEF, as a discussion paper for the Consultation on
`Support to Women's Economic Activities and Income Generation
in the 1990s', UNICEF, New York, 21 April-1 May 1992.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of UNICEF.
For more information on the Evaluation and Research Working Paper
Series, please contact:
- Dr. Sawon Hong
- Senior Programme Officer
- Evaluation and Research Office
- UNICEF DH-48C
- New York, N.Y. 10017