Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study’s objective was to examine the implementation of the Grameen America Program which sought to reduce poverty by supporting low-income, female, entrepreneurs with microloans, group-based financial training and peer support.
- The study authors conducted an implementation evaluation using data from participant interviews.
- The study found that borrowers had to combine multiple sources of income to make ends meet.
- The study does not detail methods of data collection or analysis.
- The embedded impact study was reviewed by CLEAR in June 2022 and can be found here: Microfinance in the United States: Early impacts for the Grameen America Program (Schaberg et al. 2019) | CLEAR (dol.gov).
Grameen America Program
Features of the Intervention
- Type of organization: Non-profit organization
- Location/setting: New Jersey
- Population served and scale: Low-income; female; entrepreneurs; approximately 1,044 participants were served by the program.
- Industry focus: Not included
- Intervention activities: Group-based finance education; microloans; weekly meetings; required payments and savings
- Organizational partnerships: Not applicable
- Cost: Not included
- Fidelity: Not included
The intervention provided financial education to groups of five female borrowers. Each group was required to participate in five consecutive one-to-two-hour lessons about interest rates, loan repayments, savings, credit establishment, asset accumulation, and the benefits and risks of loans. The intervention included a home visit, income status review, and a group interview. Approved participants were given microloans of up to $2,000 that they were required to repay over 6 months. Participants were required to make weekly payments and savings contributions at weekly program-run cohort meetings. The program required participants to live in American cities with incomes below the federal poverty line.
Features of the Study
The implementation study examined how the Grameen America program operated and the experiences of program staff and borrowers. The study focused on one site which served Union City, Jersey City, Hoboken, and the surrounding Northern New Jersey area. This report and analysis presented information on how the Grameen America Program supported its participants' financial well-being. The research team collected data through a series of in-depth interviews with program participants to gain an understanding of borrowers’ lives, businesses, experiences in the program, and factors that shape their financial decisions. For the initial round of interviews, the sample included 28 randomly selected female entrepreneurs who participated in the Grameen America program. From these 28 participants, the research team selected 15 program participants for further case studies based on key patterns. To learn more about how participants combine work and business, the second round of interviews focused on participants’ employment histories.
Program Activities and Services
- The study found that specific household economic circumstances played a role in borrowers’ financial wellbeing and that borrowers combined multiple sources of income to make ends meet.
- The study noted that several interviewees reported that their income fluctuated from month to month, and they sought to overcome this by maintaining a stable source of income and benefits.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The study does not detail methods of data collection or analysis.