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Securing a living among youth. Preconditions and Potential for Micro-finance Services to Youth in Tanzania.

Research project In this project, we will investigate what kinds of support young people in Tanzania need in order to secure their livelihood as self-employed. Micro-finance services to youth is one of the focus of the study.

Many young people in East Africa make their living within the informal sector. Because the employment opportunities are few, they are expected to create their own employment. However, there is very little support available in order to do so, which puts young people in a very vulnerable situation. The aim of this study is to investigate what kinds of support young people in Tanzania need in order to secure tehir living as self-employed. Micro-finance services is one of the aspects in focus.

Project overview

Project period:

2008-01-01 2010-12-31

Funding

Finansår , 2008, 2009, 2010

huvudman: Linda Helgesson, finansiar: SIDA, y2008: 627, y2009: 647, y2010: 85,

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Faculty of Social Sciences, Transportation Research Unit

Research subject

Human geography

Project description

One of the results in my doctoral dissertation (Helgesson 2006), which dealt with life strategies of youth in Mozambique and Tanzania, was that making a living was the major preoccupation of youth. Almost all young people made their living within the informal economy, either as self-employed or employed. They felt the pressure from the government and other stakeholders to become self-employed but they found it difficult to obtain and maintain their livelihood and were hoping to acquire more secure ways of making a living.

The support system from society was limited, both from above (the state and actors such as NGOs) and below (family and relatives), which made young people very vulnerable and in order to reduce vulnerability they used complementary strategies such as a combination of different livelihoods. Young people wished they could get more support and there was a demand for micro-credit.

Towards the background of the small margins and insecure livelihood situations among young people, the aim of this research is to explore the preconditions and potential for micro-finance services to male and female youth in Tanzania.

My research questions are:

• How are young men and women sustaining their livelihood situations concerning matters such as start-up capital for self-employment and access to additional funds if the salary obtained through employment in the informal economy is insufficient?

• In what ways are young people’s internal and international migration experiences, social networks and rural and urban settings influencing the need for, information about and access to financial means?

• What are the experiences of micro-finance services to young men and women and who are the young people who get information about and access to such services?

• Is there a potential for micro-finance services to youth? In that case, what components do different actors want to include in such services and how can micro-finance services be designed in order to reach different groups of youth?