Making Change One Person at a Time
By HopeCore Micro Enterprise Team
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 2017), Poverty is defined as the scarcity or the lack of a certain (variant) amount of material possessions or money. The World Bank’s poverty definition says, “A person is considered poor if his or her income level falls below some minimum level necessary to meet basic needs. It is this definition that necessitates a minimum level of income to be set as a poverty line
Poverty-stricken people and families might go without proper housing, clean water, healthy food, and medical attention. Poverty entails more than the lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making.
If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather than dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.” — Barbara Bush, former First Lady of the U.S. As Village HopeCore International, we are dedicated to fan the potential and strength within our beneficiaries to enable them to reach their full economic potential regardless of how discouraging their current situation might be.
Our Micro Enterprise program is not strictly a microfinance institution, but rather a poverty reduction and development program. The department uses a multiplicity of vehicles to eradicate poverty within the Tharaka Nithi County, including the distribution of loans, implementation of small savings schemes, enhancement of clients’ productive assets, skills-based learning, business and enterprise, education, and agricultural and livestock management advice. Our goal is to eventually eradicate poverty throughout all of Kenya through the delivery of our micro enterprise services, provided to each of our twelve to fifteen-member Self Help Groups which include business, health, and financial literacy training; small savings schemes for self-loaning, e.g., table banking and merry-go-rounds; a soft loan cycle of KES 30,000 ($300 USD) given to the whole group; a “normal” monetary loan of KES 30,000 ($300 USD) to KES 60,000 ($600 USD) per person over 2 years; business monitoring and mentoring; and leadership training.
The program currently has 79 Active Groups which translates to 920 clients that are benefiting from this program. The number of associate groups is 31. The number of groups engaged in the first cycle is 34 which translates to 383 individuals. The number of groups in their second cycle is 8 which translates to 84 individuals and third cycle groups are 6 translating to 60 Individuals.
The proportion of Kenyans living on less than the international poverty line (US$1.90 per day in 2011 PPP) has declined from 46.8% in 2005/06 to 36.1% in 2015/16, according to the 17th edition of the Kenya Economic Update.
The economic update, Policy Options to Advance the Big 4: Unleashing Kenya’s Private Sector to Drive Inclusive Growth and Accelerate Poverty Reduction points out that the agricultural sector was a key driver of poverty reduction in the past decade. Our clients invest in a wide range of businesses including; Dairy Farming, Tea farming, Dairy goat rearing, Resale shops, Poultry, pig rearing, Salon/ Barber business, Animal feeds resale, Butchery, Carpentry, M-Pesa, Motorbike, Tailoring, Hotel Business and Bakery
We have so far experienced spectacular successes in the history of the HopeCore Micro Enterprise Department. Our poverty eradication program has consistently witnessed encouraging growth. With very limited resources, we have funded a total of 136 Self Help Groups in the history of HopeCore for a total of 1,632 family-based income-generating micro-enterprises. At an average of 6 dependents per family, this program has so far benefited approximately 9,792 people in terms of better nutrition, greater ability to pay children’s school fees, cover hospital and other health/medical related expenses, buy better clothing, and even bring electricity and water to their homes
The Maara Constituency of Tharaka Nithi County has a total population of 107,098 out of which 21,331 are classified as absolutely poor, representing a 20% section of the population. This is a category of people who live on USD 1.90 per day working out to Ksh 5,700 per month. At the point of this assessment, it was found that the population that is living below the absolute poverty line of USD 1.90 per day had shrunk from 47% to 23%. The impact, therefore, is that some 24% of the micro enterprise beneficiaries had been lifted from absolute poverty to live above the poverty line.
Additionally, the total monthly income for all the Micro Enterprise beneficiaries before enrolment into the program was KES. 2.3 Million, which works out to KES 9,426 per member. The total monthly income for all beneficiaries after graduating from Micro Enterprise Programme was KES. 4.1 Million which works out to KES. 16,803 per member. This is a 78% change. When the figures are inferred to the entire population of 744 households who have already graduated from micro enterprise, the total monthly income has grown from 7 million to 12.5 million.
Let us work in partnerships between rich and poor to improve the opportunities of all human beings to build better lives.”– Kofi Annan. Village HopeCore’s Micro Enterprise program has gone a long way in transforming the lives of many and will continue to do so in the coming days.
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