Sierra Leone is a country located in the West African continent, bordered on the north and northeast by Guinea, on the southeast by Liberia, and on the west and southwest by the North Atlantic Ocean. Its official name is the Republic of Sierra Leone. Once a colony of the United Kingdom, it gained its independence on October 1, 1961…
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The aggregate microfinance program in Sierra Leone has currently a loan portfolio worth US$3.4 million, with some 45,717 active borrowers and 23,243 depositors accounting for US$963,373.90 (MIX, 2011). Microfinance has been intended as the flagship project through which the government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may effect grassroots level economic development while at the same time providing women the impetus to explore a wider range of possibilities and thereby contribute to the advancement of their families and communities.
There is great difficulty, however, in the sourcing of loans for women to establish their businesses with. Traditionally, women are able to get loans only from their male relatives, and oftentimes with substantial collateral. While loans are available from the bank, this channel would only grant loans to women who have a man’s backing. When the loan is being taken out without a male endorser, it has been the case that women are commonly pressured into having sex by bank staff (Guardian, 2011).
The sorry state of women under the traditional norms in Sierra Leone has prompted development planners to embark upon sustained and organized microfinance aimed specifically at women. Recently, the U.S. State Department had sent a mission, comprised of women technology experts, to Sierra Leone in order to gather the facts and recommend a solution as to how technology can improve women’s ability and subsequently empower them....
The sorry state of women under the traditional norms in Sierra Leone has prompted development planners to embark upon sustained and organized microfinance aimed specifically at women. Recently, the U.S. State Department had sent a mission, comprised of women technology experts, to Sierra Leone in order to gather the facts and recommend a solution as to how technology can improve women’s ability and subsequently empower them. “We know effective development comes when women are targeted” (Guardian, 2011), because of women’s generally close affinity to the household. As it stands, there are still no businesswomen’s group or any organization of the sort which could accelerate the process of enabling women to be economically productive 1.3 Statement of the research goal Briefly stated, the goal of this research is to determine whether or not the microfinance programs undertaken among the women in Sierra Leone have succeeded in empowering Sierra Leonean women in a significant way. 1.4 Research objectives In order to arrive at relevant conclusions in response to the research goal, the research shall seek to find answers to the following objectives: 1.4.1 To describe the state of operations undertaken by microfinance programs implemented in Sierra Leone 1.4.2 To determine the impact of microfinance programs on the economic development of the country 1.4.3 To determine the perception of women microfinance borrowers of their level of empowerment as a result of their availment of microfinance programs 1.4.4 To compare the data on the microfinance programs and the perception of respondent women borrowers of their level of empowerment, in an effort to correlate the two 1.4.5 To
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