The widespread prevalence of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa adversely affects millions of households. In recent years, microfinance has been proposed as a strategy to help the households of microentrepreneurs respond to the negative economic impacts of HIV/AIDS. This attention to the potential role of microfinance builds upon earlier research that shows that microfinance institutions (MFIs) that charge commercial rates of interest and use sound business practices can become operationally self-sustainable and help improve the lives of the poor and vulnerable nonpoor. This type of MFI generally offers small loans, often combined with savings services. An MFI may also offer business management training, health and nutrition education, and other types of services. This brief presents findings from a study conducted in Zimbabwe that sought to better understand the relationship between a microfinance program, Zambuko Trust, and how microentrepreneurs’ households cope with the impact of HIV/AIDS. The study also examined how HIV/AIDS is affecting Zambuko’s operations and what MFIs can do to lessen the impact of HIV/AIDS on their clients and operations.
"Microfinance and households coping with HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe: An exploratory study," Horizons Research Summary. Washington, DC: Population Council, 2002.