Articles

Freedom from Hunger is committed to sharing what we learn with the rest of the field. Our expert staff members are regularly called upon to contribute commentary, articles and chapters for trade publications, technical journals and books.

We are pleased to provide the following list of published works authored or co-authored by Freedom from Hunger staff, past and present. These articles are generally available for free download in PDF format or via links to other websites. In some cases, articles have been published by journals that provide access only by subscription or purchase.

The titles are listed according to the date of publication, starting with the most recent articles. We provide complete citation information for the convenience of researchers wanting to cite the publication in their own work and provide access to French or Spanish versions, when available.

We sincerely hope you will find these articles useful for broadening your understanding of value-added microfinance and related topics.

Integrating microfinance and health strategies: examining the evidence to inform policy and practice

Sheila Leatherman, Marcia Metcalfe, Kimberley Geissler and Christopher Dunford. 17pp. (February 2011). Chapel Hill, NC : Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina and Davis, CA : Freedom from Hunger.

Abstract

Introduction Single solutions continue to be inadequate in confronting the prevalent problems of poverty, ill health and insufficient health system capacity worldwide. The poor need access to an integrated set of financial and health services to have income security and better health.

Over 3500 microfinance institutions (MFIs) provide microcredit and financial services to more than 155 million households worldwide. Conservative estimates indicate that at least 34 million of these households are very poor by the definition in the Millennium Development Goals, representing around 170 million people, many in remote areas beyond the reach of health agencies, both private and governmental. A small but increasing number of MFIs offer health-related services, such as education, clinical care, community health workers, health-financing and linkages to public and private health providers.

Review of evidence Multiple studies indicate the effectiveness of microfinance and its impact on poverty. A small but growing number of studies also attempt to show that MFIs are capable of contributing to health improvement by increasing knowledge that leads to behavioural changes, and by enhancing access to health services through addressing financial, geographic and other barriers. While these studies are of uneven quality, they indicate positive health benefits in diverse areas such as maternal and child health, malaria and other infectious disease, and domestic violence. While more rigorous research is needed to inform policy and guide programme implementation to integrate microfinance and health interventions that can reliably enhance the well-being of the poor, there is useful evidence to support the design and delivery of integrated programmes now.

Conclusion Worldwide, current public health programmes and health systems are proving to be inadequate to meet population needs. The microfinance sector offers an underutilized opportunity for delivery of health-related services to many hard-to-reach populations.

Findings from Microfinance Institutions Offering Health Services to Clients

Leatherman, Sheila, Somen Saha, Megan Gash and Marcia Metcalfe. Freedom from Hunger Research Paper No. 12. 7pp. (December 2010). Davis, Ca : Freedom from Hunger.

Saving for Change Impact Stories

Miller, Jaclyn and Megan Gash. Freedom from Hunger Research Paper No. 14. 26pp. (December 2010). Davis, CA : Freedom from Hunger.

Strengths, Weaknesses and Evolution of the Peace Corps’ 11-Year-Old Savings Group Program in Ecuador

Fleischer Proaño, Laura, Megan Gash and Amelia Kuklewicz. Freedom from Hunger Research Report No. 13. 37pp. (October 2010). Davis, CA : Freedom from Hunger.

Microcredit participation and nutrition outcomes among women in Peru

Hamad R, Fernald LCH. J Epidemiol Community Health. 7pp. (2010).

Abstract

Background Microcredit services the awarding of small loans to individuals who are too poor to take advantage of traditional financial servicesdare an increasingly popular scheme for poverty alleviation. Several studies have examined the ability of microcredit programmes to influence the financial standing of borrowers, but only a few studies have examined whether the added household income improves health and nutritional outcomes among household members. This study examined the hypothesis that longer participation in microcredit services would be associated with better nutritional status in women.

Methods Cross-sectional data were obtained in February 2007 from 1593 female clients of a microcredit organisation in Peru. The primary predictor variable was length of time as a microcredit client measured in number of completed loan cycles (range 0 to 5.5 years, average loan size US$350). The outcome variables were age-adjusted body mass index (BMI), haemoglobin levels (g/dl) and food insecurity measured using the US household food security survey module. Extensive data on demographic and socioeconomic status were also collected.

Results Longer microcredit participation was associated with higher BMI (b¼0.05, p¼0.06), higher haemoglobin levels (b¼0.07, p<0.01) and lower food insecurity (b¼0.13, p<0.01). With the inclusion of demographic and socioeconomic variables, the associations with higher haemoglobin (b¼0.03, p¼0.04) and lower food insecurity (b¼0.08, p<0.01) were sustained.

Conclusion This study supports the notion that microcredit participation has positive effects on the nutritional status of female clients. Further research should explore more definitive causal pathways through which these effects may occur and should examine the effects on other household members.

Developing Linkages with Health Providers: A Technical Guide for MFIs

By Cassie Chandler, in collaboration with Laura Fleischer Proaño and Marcia Metcalfe. Davis, CA: Freedom from Hunger. 67 pp. (2010).

Health Loans: A Technical Guide for MFIs

By Rossana Ramirez and Myka Reinsch with Freedom from Hunger staff and associates Marcia Metcalfe, Frédéric Ruaz, Mahamadi Cissé, Soumitra Dutta, Cassie Chandler and Kathleen Stack. Davis, CA: Freedom from Hunger. 41 pp. (2010).

Market Research for Microfinance and Health Protection: A Technical Guide for MFIs

By Rossana M. Ramírez with Cassie Chandler, Laura Fleischer-Proaño, Edouine François, Bobbi Gray, Marcia Metcalfe and Myka Reinsch. Davis, CA: Freedom from Hunger. 103 pp. (2010).

Health Savings: A Technical Note

By Myka Reinsch and Rossana Ramirez with Freedom from Hunger staff and associates Mahamadi Cissé, Frédéric Ruaz and Marcia Metcalfe. Davis, CA: Freedom from Hunger. 26 pp. (2010).

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