Intervention with Microfinance for AIDS and Gender Equity 2001-2003
Health Survey [hs]
In 1999, in response to the escalating AIDS epidemic in South Africa, the National Department of Health established a new initiative to design, implement and evaluate strategies for addressing HIV/AIDS within three pilot sites across the country. All three sites we re responsible for implementing a core re package of HIV- related services and support, including the provision of voluntary counselling and testing services and the training of health care workers in the implementation of National HIV/AIDS clinical care guidelines. However, in addition to this basic package, the pilot sites we re encouraged to test more innova t i ve and multi-sectoral approaches to HIV control, and it is in this context that the IMAGE (Intervention with micro-finance for AIDS and Gender Equity) Study was developed.
The IMAGE study 2001-2003 is a programme of intervention research based in Sekhukhuneland - a densely settled rural area of South Africa’s Limpopo Province. Collaborative partners include a microfinance NGO, the Small Enterprise Foundation (SEF), academic institutions from the South and North - the University of the Witwatersrand's Rural AIDS & Development Action Research Programme (RADAR) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine - and national government (South African National Department of Health).
The study combines a poverty alleviation programme and participatory learning and action intervention. The intervention comprises participation in a micro-finance programme, the Small Enterprise Foundation Credit Program, (TCP) which is a poverty-targeted micro-finance programme operating in the Limpopo Province. Participants also take part in the "Sisters for Life" programme, a two phase participatory learning and action curriculum developed in South Africa, and implemented with TCP clients during fortnightly centre meetings. The IMAGE study seeks to evaluate the impact of this work among clients, their households and their communities. The research provides an opportunity to explore the potential for developmental programs to prevent HIV infections and gender-based violence.The study is built around the prospective follow-up of three cohorts: IMAGE clients, young people living in the household of IMAGE clients and young people living in communities where the IMAGE programme was operating.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data
Unit of Analysis
Households and individuals
v1.2: Edited, anonymised dataset for licensed distribution
Version one of the dataset was provided to DataFirst by the IMAGE project team in 2008.
Version 1.1 was this dataset with variable and value labels added by DataFirst.
Version 1.2 has had missing variable labels added.
The IMAGE study was an attempt to evaluate the potential role of an intervention that combines poverty alleviation and participatory learning and action intervention in promoting women's agency, improving household welfare, changing attitudes and behaviour, and preventing new HIV infections and gender-based violence.
All households in the selected villages were eligible for inclusion in the IMAGE Study Baseline survey. Households in settlement areas outside village boundaries were not included in the sampling frame. 200 households were randomly selected in each of the eight study villages (total sample size 1600). A household in this study was defined as a group of people who are permanently resident on the same property (or dwelling) and who eat from the same pot of food when staying at home. Within selected households, all individuals aged 14-35 years at the date of interview were eligible for inclusion in the study. Individuals listed as permanent household members we re eligible for inclusion, including those household members staying staying away from the home. The total expected sample size, including adjustment for people who refuse and those who could not be traced, was 3000.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The IMAGE study recruited individuals in a "baseline" state, before they have access to the interventions, and data was collected from these individuals before, during and after the intervention programme. The use of a prospective design minimises the likelihood of distortion of results through recall bias. " Intervention" in this study was assigned at the village level and consisted of SEF and RADAR making IMAGE available to a village. In advance of services being made available SEF conducted a participatory wealth ranking procedure to identify the poorest households in the village. The IMAGE programme was made available to four intervention villages from late 2001. In four comparison villages, IMAGE was made available three years later. The primary study compares information from individuals recruited in villages that have access to IMAGE over the the 3 year period, with individuals from those villages that don't.
The decision about which villages would receive IMAGE, and which would not, was made randomly. This randomised, controlled design lends academic rigor to the work, increasing its potential impact. The use of comparison groups has not been widely adopted in micro-finance evaluations on ethical grounds. IMAGE was not previously available to any of the study villages. IMAGE will be extended so that it is available to the population of all eight villages in three years, after the completion of comparative studies. This time period is equivalent to that in which SEF would normally expand to an area of this size, so these factors answer ethical concerns.
Cohort Study I: The impact of IMAGE on loan recipients
Study procedures : Baseline:Each loan recipient and non-loan recipient was interviewed at this stage with a standardised questionnaire (Senior Female Questionnaire). Additionally, information on the household was gathered at this point in an interview either with the woman, or with the head of the household (using the Household Questionnaire).
Study procedures : Follow up:Loan recipients and non-loan recipients were re-interviewed using an adapted version of the above questionnaires two years after enrolment of the loan recipient to IMAGE. Follow-up interviews were conducted with all women enrolled at baseline, including those who later dropped out of IMAGE. An effort was made to interview women who had moved out of their home during this two years of follow-up, but who were still traceable at that point.
Cohort Study II: The impact of IMAGE on young-people living in the households of loan recipients
Study procedures : Baseline: The baseline state for Cohort Study II was as for Cohort Study I. Young people were interviewed within two months of loan recipient/non loan recipient interviews being conducted, where possible.
Interviews were conducted using a standardised questionnaire (Young Person Questionnaire). Study recruits were also asked to provide a sample collected from inside the mouth (Oral Mucosal Transudate, or OMT), using a specially designed collection device to test for the presence of antibodies to HIV.
Study procedures: Follow-up: Follow up interviews with young people were conducted two years after their enrolment in the study, utilising a modified version of the Young Person Questionniare. Repeat OMT samples were also collected at this time.
Cohort Study III: The impact of IMAGE on communities
Study procedures : Baseline: A survey covering all villages was conducted during the three months prior to IMAGE being made available in the Intervention villages. Household Questionnaires and Young Person Questionnaires were completed in all selected households. Study recruits were asked to provide a sample of Oral Mucosal Transudate (OMT), using a specially designed collection device which tests for the presence of antibodies to HIV.
Study procedures: Follow up: Households and individuals interviewed in the baseline survey were re-interviewed during a final survey conducted three years after the introduction of IMAGE to Intervention villages. Repeat OMT samples were also collected at this time.
Licensed use files, available for non-commercial use only
Rural AIDS & Development Action Research Programme (RADAR), University of the Witwatersrand, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Small Enterprise Foundation (SEF). Intervention with Microfinance for AIDS and Gender Equity 2001-2003. [dataset]. Version 1.2. Johannesburg, London: RADAR, SEF, LSHTM [producers], 2005. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2014. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/yebs-j953