Maisha: Microfinance and gender training to reduce violence against women

Maisha: Microfinance and gender training to reduce violence against women

Methods:

A problem in itself, violence against women and girls is associated with HIV transmission as well as other aspects of global public health and development.  

A cluster randomized controlled trial (The Intervention with Microfinance for AIDS & Gender Equity – IMAGE Project) in rural South Africa combined a group-based microfinance intervention with a participatory gender and HIV training curriculum for loan participants and showed that, over a two-year period, levels of physical and/or sexual partner violence experienced by participants in the past year were reduced by 55%. 

Maisha – which means “life” in KiSwahili – builds on the success of IMAGE and is seeking to: 

  1. adapt, implement and evaluate the impact of the IMAGE intervention in Tanzania in reducing women’s past year exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV)
  2. find out if a participatory gender training curriculum delivered to women not receiving microfinance and to their male partners reduces women’s past year exposure IPV  

MAISHA comprises:

1) Two cluster randomized controlled trials: 

  • Component A – 66 groups of women (average 20 women per group) who are already receiving microfinance will be recruited and randomised to either:
    • receive participatory gender training in addition to microfinance
      or
    • to continue receiving microfinance alone 
  • Component B – 66 groups of women (average 20 women per group) who are not receiving microfinance, will be recruited and randomised to either:
    • receive participatory gender training along with their male partners
      or
    • to receive no intervention

2) A complimentary in-depth qualitative study to:

  • learn more about the factors that contribute to women’s vulnerability to violence
  • to better understand how the different intervention models impact on the lives of intervention participants and their families
  • how the different intervention models may reduce this risk

3) An integrated process evaluation to explore the implementation, receipt and context of the interventions.

4) An economic evaluation to evaluate the total costs of the development and implementation phases for each of the trials.

A STRIVE project, the MAISHA study is a collaborative effort of: 

  • the Mwanza Intervention Trials Units (MITU)
  • the Tanzanian National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) 
  • the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
  • BRAC Tanzania

In Tanzania, the study is led by Dr Saidi Kapiga, Dr Gerry Mshana and Dr Sheila Harvey. In London, the study is led by Professor Charlotte Watts and Dr Shelley Lees.   

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