Microfinance Shown to Improve Quality of Life
August 23, 2022
Wisconsin Microfinance’s loan programs are improving borrowers’ overall quality of life. We are now able to demonstrate a significant and marked improvement in measures of quality of life, including number of daily meals, the presence of meat in meals and the ability to save money. We have been gathering information from borrowers regarding their quality of life before and after taking out a loan, and our analysis confirms that providing economic opportunity to the working poor leads to improved quality of life.
We have survey results from 36 of our borrowers in Haiti who have taken out multiple loans.
• Prior to taking the first loan, 54% reported eating only one meal a week containing meat (beef, pork, chicken, or fish), 33% reported eating meat twice a week and 4% reporting eating meat 3 times a week.
• After taking out the first-round loan – and paying it back- the number of people reporting eating meat once a week decreased to 8%, while 66% reported eating meat twice a week, and 21% said that meat was present in a meal 3 times during the week.
• After paying back their second loan, these numbers had improved again to 42% of respondents saying that they had meat 3 times a week, with an additional 17% saying they were eating meat 4 or more times a week.
Overall, the consumption of meat, chicken, and fish (typically heartier, more expensive foods) increased dramatically.
Some other noteworthy findings include:
Number of Daily Meals
• Prior to the first loan, 42% reported that 1 meal had been prepared the day before receiving the loan, and 50% reported that 2 meals had been prepared.
• After the first loan was paid back, 62% reported that 2 meals had been prepared the day before and 33% reported that 3 meals had been prepared. No one reported that only 1 meal had been prepared.
• Before the first loan, 70% of loan recipients reported that their income had increased 10 – 25% during the previous 12 months. No one reported their income increasing more than 25%.
• After paying back their first loan (and before taking out a second), 40% of loan recipients reported their income increasing 25 – 100%.
• These numbers held up after paying back their second loan (and before taking out their 3rd loan), where again, 40% of loan recipients reported that their income had increased 25 – 100% over the past 12 months.
Our results are consistent with a 2021-2022 study aimed at assessing the effectiveness of microfinance practices. Based on interviews 72 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in 41 countries, microfinance works. 88% of borrowers agreed their quality of life improved and a sizeable number—34%—say their quality of life is “very much improved.”
We are gratified to have our confidence in the power of microfinance validated both by our data and by a broader international study. We remain convinced in the power of the work that we do. We are adding new international partners and additional loan recipients, and will continue to track our progress and impact.
In the meantime, we are pleased to share that our loan program is bringing about improvements in people’s quality of life, and we hope you and your friends and family will continue to support our borrowers.