Kossek, Alina (1); Graf, Gunter (2); Costa, Ursula (1) (2017). 'Microfinance from an occupational science and occupational therapy perspective: Exploring the subjective impact of microfinance on participation in daily life, health, and well-being of people living in extreme poverty in Ghana.' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Cape Town 2017.



In the global monitoring report 2015/2016 the World Bank uttered a forecast for the year 2015, expecting 702 million people to be living under the international poverty line of US$1.90 a day. Poverty is not only the biggest enemy of health but also a source of occupational injustice. Occupation is hereby defined as a personally meaningful activity including 4 dimensions: doing, being, belonging and becoming.

The aim of this study is to explore whether microfinance can be a contribution to the reduction of poverty and injustice, not focusing on the financial impact but on promoting people’s capabilities. Investigations are conducted about microfinance as a possible conversion factor to promote individual freedom to achieve valuable functionings and show impact on participation in daily life, health and well-being. To evaluate the individual impact of microfinance, an occupational therapy perspective together with Sen’s multidimensional Capability Approach will be used.


This thesis is a contribution to the research on the interrelatedness of occupation, participation, and health. Implications for practice might be deducted from participants’ descriptions of their motivation for applying for a microcredit as well as of facilitating or constraining factors related to their occupational opportunities (capabilities).

Research Questions

1.) Which motivation do participants describe for applying for a microcredit?

2.) Do participants describe an impact on their participation in daily life, on their health, and on their well-being by making use of a microcredit?

3.) Which facilitating factors related to their occupational opportunities (capabilities) do participants experience during the credit period?

4.) Which constraining factors related to their occupational opportunities (capabilities) do participants experience during the credit period?


This qualitative study included study participants in Ghana, who were invited by Opportunity International/ Sinapi Aba Trust, Ghana, a not-for-profit microfinance organization. Eight individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted on a voluntary base with five women and three men at their workplaces. Interviews were anonymized to ensure data protection and ethical principles.

The verbatim transcribed interviews will be analyzed by building thematic categories in the process of a qualitative, deductive and inductive content analysis. The capability approach and occupational science theory is going to be used as a framework for analyzing individual situations in a multidimensional way, and for grounding the normative relevance of participation and agency.


Occupational justice, Capabilities, Microfinance, Well-being

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