Toeradicate poverty among people, especially women, various developmental tools havebeen put in place by international development agencies, policy makers andnon-governmental organizations in developing countries for the past two decades(Afrane, 2002). Micro-finance and for that matter micro-credit is one of such developmentaltools, aimed at reducing poverty by bringing a significant improvement in thelives of the vulnerable and poor groups in the society- especially womenwithout access to the five critical assets including natural, physical, social,human and financial capital (MoFEP, 2009). Accordingto Asiama et al, (2007), “the clients of micro-credit and microfinance in Ghanaare predominantly women in rural and urban areas. These women are engaged inincome generating activities such as farming, petty trading (including serviceprovision and street vending), food processing, weaving, basket making”. Despite,the influx of large number of microfinance institutions worldwide and for thatmatter Ghana and their significant roles they have played in the lives of womenfor decades, several studies have shown that, women in Ghana, especially ruralareas are often confronted with challenges.
For instance, 2007 survey conductedby Ghana Statistical Service indicated that, poverty in Ghana still remains adisproportionately rural phenomenon, up until now 86 percent of the totalpopulation living below the poverty line in Ghana live in the rural areas (GSS,2007). Again,Ghana’s population has about 70 percent of women being poor and this due to thediscrimination in the areas of education, employment, health services andcontrol over assets (Otoo, 2009). To support the above statement, Oteng-Preko(2007), has also argued that the socio-cultural ramifications in Ghana and mostparts of sub-Saharan Africa, has made women powerless in household level decisionmaking. He further stressed that since headship in households is male dominated,the ability for women to exercise control in decision-making as well aspossessing control over a household’s land, capital and other valued resources,can be overly limited. Lookingat available current literatures, enough research has not been conducted on therole of microfinance in empowering women in rural and urban areas in theselected study area-Sefwiman Rural Bank Limited.
It is against this backdrop,that the researcher has realized the need to access the role of microfinance inempowering women in Sefwiman Rural Bank Limited and its catchment areas andalso to identify the challenges these women go through in accessing and usingthe micro-credit that they receive from Sefwiman Rural Bank Limited.