Microenterprise and children – what are the intra-household impacts of income-generating programmes?
The last decade has seen a rapid increase in the use of income-generating programmes (IGPs) to alleviate poverty by national governments, official donors and NGOs. This article summarizes the findings of a study commissioned by Save the Children Fund to examine the impacts of IGPs on children. An underlying assumption of most IGPs is that if household income (HHI) is increased, then the welfare of all household members, and thus children, is enhanced. The article argues that in many contexts this assumption may be invalid and points out how little empirical material is available to substantiate or refute the proposition. For most agencies children are 'invisible': they are 'not seen and not heard' in programme plans, reports or evaluations. The article points to the need to remedy this situation and also lists a number of tentative conclusions about how IGPs might be modified to help improve their welfare impacts.