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One of common solutions to resolve poverty, a big issue in both Vietnam and the World, is national programs that have given small credit for the poor. However, financial services alone cannot improve poverty effectively because poverty can be caused by multiple reasons. Microfinance (MF) for poor women is considered as an appropriate way to attack poverty. The impact of Microfinance Institution (MFI) on livelihoods of poor women households through accumulation of social, human, financial, natural, and physical assets that contributes to poverty reduction needs to be examined. Hoa An, a poor commune in the Mekong Delta, was selected as a case for this thesis because its MF program has been implemented and continuously operated without donors’ funding. Besides the review of document, participatory methods and focus group discussions with several stakeholders relating to MF and three women groups who have been members and non-members of the MF program were conducted. A household survey of 89 women belonging to the three women groups was conducted to identify the differences as well as similarities among them. Furthermore, an in-depth interview with microfinance researchers, microfinance managers, leaders of Women Savings and Credit Groups (WSCG), and staff of Vietnam Bank for Social Policies of Phung Hiep district and Hoa An commune, and better-off members of WSCG was conducted to identify perspectives of different stakeholders in MF in poverty reduction. The main findings were the importance of maintaining Women Savings and Credit Groups; the vulnerability context of the poor; the process of accumulation and interaction among livelihood assets of members’ households; the combination of livelihood activities and the use of livelihood assets for maximizing income and minimizing vulnerability in order to reduce poverty. The study also shows emerging constraints of the process of MF in poverty reduction and perspectives of different stakeholders relating to MF. The thesis further finds that MF is a dynamic tool to intervene in the accumulation and interactions among social, human, financial, natural and physical capital of poor women. However, MF has been a small scale and subsidized by donors so the outreach of it needs interplay among formal credit institutions, extension, local organizations, MF researchers and appropriate policies.


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