Micro Enterprise Blog

2018 IN REVIEW; UNREMITTING DEVOTION THAT BORE FRUITS

Mwendwa Self-Help Group Receiving Their First Loan Cycle

Booker T Washington says that success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in this life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed. Bangambiki Habyarimana says that “Success in life is not for those who run fast, but for those who keep running and always on the move.” Looking back to where the Micro Enterprise Program started 18 years ago where one women Self-Help Group: Rwancege Women was funded, the program has grown amidst numerous challenges and the secret is to keep moving and learning. 

Since the program’s inception eighteen years ago, we have experienced spectacular success with our approach that marries lending, training and mentoring. Our poverty eradication program has witnessed encouraging growth even with the very limited resources available. We have funded a total of 118 Self Help Groups, which at an average of 6 dependents per family means approximately 8,496 individuals in our community have been empowered through the Micro Enterprise program.

Majority of the residents of Tharaka Nithi County, where we operate, live below the poverty level according to the 2012 survey by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics which stands at 48.7 percent which happens to be slightly higher than the national percent of 45.2 percent of people living below the poverty line according to KNBS survey findings of 2009. Every year, we play our role to improve alleviate poverty and ensure that we develop an empowered people who are able to respond to their personal, social and economic challenges effectively. 

This year, sixteen new Self-Help Groups, 177 individuals have been funded with 1st cycle loans to start small enterprises and continue the process of improving their social-economic situations. They are now able to meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and even start other income generating projects. Two (2) Self-Help Groups: 20 individuals were funded with the second cycle after successful completion of their first loan cycle. According to a report published on counties by Kenya Bureau of Statistics, only 8% of residents in Tharaka Nithi County have access to electricity and the program is dedicated to ensuring that at the end of the six -year period, one is able to not just meet their basic needs comfortably but also be able to start other side income generating projects.

business loan recipient
Anthony Muriungi of Kamuri Self Help Group on his horticorture farm

Research findings by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) which utilises relatively recent Fin Scope survey data from Kenya (where it is called Fin Access) shows that in Kenya, 44% of those surveyed had at some point used savings to undertake productivity-enhancing investment, and 24% had used a loan for this purpose. This research also showed that many people also cited supply side barriers to access, such as high charges, not knowing where or how to access a service, not having a nearby financial services facility, difficulty meeting qualifying requirements such as the need for collateral, a guarantor, or an initial lump sum, or the lack of required documentation. Village Hope Core’s Micro Enterprise Program seeks to break barriers that hinder people from accessing financial services and marry a multiplicity of vehicles to improve social, economic lives of our clients.  Micro-credits create employment opportunities for the jobless through self-employment but can grow to absorb more workers (Hermes & Lensink, 2011).

In 2018, our recovery rate has stood at 100.53% which can be attributed to our approach which marries business monitoring and mentorship throughout the repayment period. During monthly meetings, the clients receive business advice on how to maximize on profit and expand their various enterprises.  This ensures that our clients’ businesses are doing well and they are able to get enough income to pay the loans and also meet their other needs. Our recovery efforts have been rigorous and ongoing in an effort to ensure that funds are recovered so as to benefit other households once repaid. 

Education and training has continued to play a crucial role in the social economic development of our clients. In 2018, Four Business Training events were conducted where 177 clients were trained. The five-day Business Training curriculum provides basic education on various topics of interest, including agriculture, financial management, credit and risk management, business planning, crop production, livestock management, savings advice, networking and public health education. The training is meant to strengthen the clients entrepreneurial and business skills so that they are better equipped to sustain and expand their businesses. Additionally, we continued building the capacity of the leaders of our groups through trainings. This ensures that they are well equipped to deal with any issues that may arise in the groups and are able to steer the group to achieving their goals and objectives as they grow together. 

Naomi, HopeCore’s Director of Operations addressing clients during a five-day business training event.

The successes of 2018 could not have been achieved were it not for the support and generosity of our partners and supporters. 

This year, our resilience and commitment to the work we do will only continue to grow as we endeavor to change lives, one group at a time. 

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