Empowering people with disabilities in developing countries : an evaluation of two group saving programs in Northern Uganda
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- Master Thesis 
People with disabilities are overrepresented among those in the world who live below the poverty line, and being disabled they face additional barriers to empowerment in an already challenging environment. Providing access to finance is considered to be an important step to empower these individuals, and microfinance programs, such as village loans and savings associations (VSLAs), have been widely regarded as part of the solution. While existing research indicate that such programs positively impact the financial situations and livelihood of non-disabled participants, less research is available on PWD’s effect of participation. Evaluating the effects of two VSLA programs targeted at PWDs in rural areas of Northern Uganda, this thesis aspires to contribute to the topic of what PWDs gain from participating in microfinance programs. The majority of the thesis revolves around an evaluation of the iSAVE Inclusive Economic Empowerment Programme, where VSLA groups are established and trained. A quantitative analysis of non-experimental survey data is conducted. Attempting to facilitate causal inference, a Propensity Score Matching approach is applied to compare participants. Additionally, a brief evaluation of a VSLA facilitated by Adina Foundation Uganda is conducted, through a qualitative content analysis of reports from interviews. Findings indicate that participation in VSLAs facilitates economic empowerment for PWDs. Significant improvements in livelihood conditions and an increase in likelihood of starting income generating activities are identified. Approaches which include education in topics like literacy, hygiene, and alcoholism appear to enable social empowerment.