Before a group can register with HopeCore, they should participate in a table banking savings scheme. Table banking is a form of social insurance whereby members support each other financially using a strategy of economic empowerment, teamwork, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and mutual education. This savings scheme works to demonstrate a group’s cohesiveness and loan repayment potential, as well as contributes to individual livelihoods because a large sum of money is often more useful than smaller amounts.
In the context of HopeCore, a soft loan refers to a 30,000 KES ($300 USD) loan that is given to an Associate Group with the aim of strengthening their table banking practices. Table banking is an economic empowerment tool and group funding strategy where members of a group meet once a month to place their savings, loan repayments and other contributions together, which they then determine how to distribute amongst themselves. Usually, a selection of the members, which is to be decided by the group members, will borrow from the pool of money for either long term or short term use. Essentially, the soft loan provides the capital to allow Associate Groups to engage in table banking activities which they otherwise would be unable to do. The purpose of the soft loan is to help Associate Groups begin to boost their existing and/or planned businesses.
After completing the community mobilization process, the Micro Enterprise team conducts income assessments on each group member to ensure that Hope Core funds meet the neediest families in the community. The aim of this assessment is to determine the baseline incomes of the group members in order to establish loan eligibility and gauge what the potential loan amounts should be when they are distributed in the future.
Pre Funding Assessment
The pre-funding assessment seeks to review the current economic, personal, and general wellbeing of potential Partner Group members.
Normal Loan - 1st Cycle
Partner Groups in their first normal loan cycle will be eligible for receiving variable individual loan amounts as part of the program’s tiered loan policy. This means that individuals receive varying loans depending on their proposed business plan, demonstrated ability to repay, level of collateral, and proven credibility in the community. When a group receives the first normal loan, each member of the group is given either, 30,000 KES ($300 USD), 45,000 KES ($450 USD) or 60,000 KES ($600 USD).
Post Funding Assessment / Business Monitoring
Within the first two weeks of post-funding, the team dedicates additional attention and time to review the investments made by the clients. The team, therefore, travels to individual member’s home and business locations to confirm whether they have invested the money as per their personalized business plans and to offer any business support and advice. However, Business Monitoring and Mentoring is an ongoing process, which continues throughout both normal loan cycles.
2 Year Follow Up
Two Year Follow Up questionnaires are normally used in order to measure the general successes and weaknesses of the program and evaluate the true impact of the microloans. The assessments seek not only to evaluate tangible and quantitative indicators of the program’s success, but also the more intangible and qualitative ones. This assessment is normally conducted to get information that will help the team know whether the programs that are being funded are producing real and impactful effects in the community or not, and what areas need to be restructured for future improvement.
Normal Loan - 2nd Cycle
Partner Groups that have successfully completed their first normal loan cycles may be eligible to receive another round of funding. This will depend on the group’s overall performance, the needs of the individual members, and the ability and willingness of the group’s sponsor/s. When a group receives the second normal loan, individuals receive varying loans depending on their proposed business plan, demonstrated ability to repay, level of collateral, and proven credibility in the community. When a group receives the second normal loan, each member of the group is given either, 30,000 KES ($300 USD), 45,000 KES ($450 USD) or 60,000 KES ($600 USD), which acts as a top up on the original business venture and loan.
The same guidelines, requirements, and rules apply to Partner Groups whether they are in their first or second loan cycles.
Additionally, clients in their second loan cycles will not receive a 2-month grace period before they have to start repaying their loans, therefore the Second Normal Loan cycle is only 22 months.
Normal Loan - 3rd Cycle
Beginning in 2015, a Third Normal Loan cycle was offered to extraordinary groups. The Third Normal Loan is in its pilot phase, with a larger rollout occurring in 2018. The aim of the Third Normal Loan is to continue building relationships with our clients and to have a higher income generated for HopeCore’s Micro Enterprise Department, thus making it more sustainable and able to continue to loan to needy community members.
Generally speaking, the Third Normal Loan may be offered to groups who have successfully completed their first and second normal loan cycles with no default through either cycle, and will depend on the group’s overall performance, the needs of the individual members, and the ability and willingness of the group’s sponsor/s.
4 Year & 6 Year Follow Up
This is the final assessment after a group receives the second or third loan and repays back successfully. The assessment involved administering Four Year and Six Year Follow Up questionnaires to each client with the aim of determining the impact of the program’s efforts; the assessment follows the exact same structure as the Two Year Follow-Up Assessment so that changes over time can be captured and compared accurately. This type of assessment is very crucial for the department in terms of appropriately assessing what is being done on the ground, whether the stated goals are being realized, and it ultimately gives the department room to modify its interventions and assess the quality of the activities being conducted.