Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP)
How REAP Works
The Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP) is an innovative poverty-graduation program that offers business-skills training, a start-up grant and two years of mentoring to small business groups of three women. In 2011, BOMA added a micro-savings component that teaches participants the importance of savings, facilitates access to secure savings instruments (such as three-lock boxes and mobile banking, where available), and helps REAP business groups to establish mentored savings and loans associations.
As of April 2013, BOMA has launched 1,380 income-generating businesses in 20 settled villages and more than 250 nomadic villages across Northern Kenya, comprising 4,668 adults who will use the income and savings to support more than 23,340 children. This total includes 176 savings groups, each made up of three to eight REAP business groups, with an established constitution and lending guidelines.
REAP targets the poorest and most at-risk residents of each village. More than 90 percent of current participants are women, who use the REAP income to feed their families, educate their children and pay for medical care. Starting in 2012, REAP targets women exclusively; we believe that helping women to earn an income is a highly effective strategy for fighting poverty in the developing world.
REAP participants work closely with BOMA Village Mentors to write a business plan and to learn key skills like record keeping, marketing, savings and group dynamics. Upon approval of their business plan, each business group receives a start-up grant of 11,500 Kenyan shillings (approximately $150). The Village Mentors work with each group for two years to ensure success.
Most REAP businesses are small village kiosks that sell affordable food staples and basic household supplies. Additional REAP businesses include bakeries and butcheries, tailoring and laundry, construction materials and petroleum sales, skins and hides, restaurants, dried and fresh fish wholesalers, beading groups and purveyors of inexpensive mobile phones.
REAP is a successful program of economic empowerment, climate-change adaptation, poverty alleviation and community development with measurable outcomes and proven results. Our original model was designed and implemented through a partnership with Village Enterprise, and Village Enterprise helped to fund 200 of BOMA’s new micro-enterprises in 2011.