As a microfinance project, an association of women in central Iran began to keep bees for honey in 2000. Initially they made money, which transformed some skeptical family members’ expectations, but, by 2004, most of the women had lost their bees and thus their source of revenue. Simultaneously, the women attracted some donors’ financial support but were unable to raise adequate capital to re-start their businesses. These women did not save money to improve or maintain their business. I argue that their inability to save money was due to 1) their failure to distinguish between different kinds of money (income, grants, and loans), and 2) their expectations to receiving money from donors. Based on seven years of close interaction with these women, this article addresses the socio-cultural factors that prevented the women from saving money while making it.

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