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ABSTRACT. The role of microfinance institutions as a potential policy tool for poverty reduction has received great attention in recent years. Empirical evidence from existing research shows some positive effects in poverty alleviation from some microfinance schemes. In contrast, other findings suggest that some of the institutions are more concerned about financial sustainability, and limit coverage with respect to the poor. This study aims to add to the existing literature on the industry; by assessing the needs of microfinance clients who have received loans from the Sinapi Aba Trust of Ghana. Available data collected from the clients of SAT (in July–September 2009) show that they adopted various ways to manage their income, to smooth consumption and to meet other unforeseen emergencies. Since most earn relatively low incomes, they engage in multiple jobs to back up their primary earning activities to better deal with income shocks. Also, the trust does not meet all their saving needs, and some clients have continued to use traditional saving practices in addition to the scheme’s compulsory savings. Such actions of the clients constitute “their voice”, the manifestation of which is an important theme of this paper. pp. 109–122

Keywords: Microfinance institutions, Clients, Savings and Poor

Paul Adjei Onyina
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Macquarie University
Sean Turnell
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Macquarie University

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