In many developing countries, programs offering collateral-free credit have integrated economic improvements with consciousness-raising, family planning information and motivation, preventive health services and other activities that promote social welfare. A 1995 household survey of the program areas of five nongovernmental organizations in rural Bangladesh that offer such credit programs reveals that women who participate in them are more likely to use contraceptives, to want no additional children and to desire smaller families than women who do not participate or who live outside of program areas. Increased empowerment was associated with the desire for no more children among credit members. Nonmembers living in program areas also desired smaller families, suggesting a diffusion of norms established by credit members to other women in the community.
(International Family Planning Perspectives, 22:158-162, 1996)