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From microfinance to macro change: integrating health education and microfinance to empower women and reduce poverty.
New York, New York, United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA], 2006. 26 p.This document is a call to action for development agencies, governments, MFIs and donors that are committed to finding practical strategies to fulfill the shared vision for human development. Built upon the backbone of a poverty alleviation mechanism already reaching more than 66.6 million of the world's poorest families, the proposed strategy calls for combining reproductive health education with microfinance services in developing countries. The first section of the document acknowledges and reviews the intimate link between poverty, poor health outcomes and inequality. The next section presents microfinance as an effective poverty reduction strategy and reviews the evidence for its impact on poverty as well as its broader impacts. The third section proposes microfinance as a vehicle for improving reproductive health outcomes, HIV prevention and women's empowerment by combining health education with microfinance programs. Summaries of case study institutions in Bolivia that are already employingthis strategy are presented, along with evidence of the impact of combined microfinance and health education services. Finally, recommendations for action are made to development agencies, governments, MFIs and donors to promote and expand this essential strategy. (excerpt)