Date of Award

11-20-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Carrie Manning - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer McCoy

Third Advisor

Dr. William Downs

Abstract

Despite the remarkable success of microfinance programs in poverty alleviation, empowering the clients of these programs has proven elusive in many cases. Social capital is a commonly missing, or at least misused, asset within microfinance programs, which often leads to this outcome. Creating and fostering social capital will have a positive influence on empowering microfinance clients. The values espoused by certain Christian theologies can have a considerably positive impact on the creation and fostering of social capital. A Christian-oriented social capital also has the potential to alleviate the ills and correct the failures of a microfinance program’s intent to empower clients. This thesis argues that the values and structure of certain Christian theologies and practices create a type of social capital that increases the likelihood of Christian-based microfinance programs empowering their clients.

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