In 2017, the BOMA Project launched a pilot program in Samburu County in partnership with the Government of Kenya’s (GoK) Programme for Rural Outreach of Financial Innovations and Technologies (PROFIT), the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), and BRAC USA. The program’s overall goal is to reduce the poverty rate in rural Kenya. The PROFIT Graduation pilot is designed to test the effectiveness of the Graduation Approach in lifting ultrapoor households out of extreme poverty and the viability of integrating the poverty graduation approach into the government’s social protection systems.
This project is taking place in seven wards of Samburu County (Loosuk, Maralal, Porro, Lodokejek, Suguta, Wamba West and Wamba North). BOMA implemented the program with two different iterations (group and individual), providing GoK with the research and impact data needed to adopt the poverty graduation approach as an integral part of the country’s national social protection system.
The pilot has enrolled 1,600 ultra-poor women, supporting more than 8,000 children in 27 village clusters in Samburu County, one of the four poorest counties in Kenya, with an overall poverty rate of 76% in 2015-16. Samburu is also one of the six counties with a registered food poverty rate of 60.1%. Livestock management is the primary source of income in Samburu, partly due to the region’s aridity and conditions unfavorable to agricultural livelihoods. BRAC USA, who is serving as the technical advisor to the Government of Kenya on this pilot, engaged Catherine Sanders, PhD, of Expanding Opportunities to complete an extensive midline evaluation of the project.
The evaluation was conducted using surveys/monitoring data, Focus Group Discussions and Key Informant Interviews. The evaluation noted that, at baseline (July 2017) women enrolled in BOMA’s program, in comparison with country and district-level data, had some of the lowest levels of income, savings and empowerment indicators, such as confidence and decision-making, in Kenya. After 12 months in our program, the midline data showed women had made dramatic gains:
“PROFIT Financial Graduation pilot has, in a short period, drastically improved the lives of women.”
- Household income increased 3,455 KES, or (77%), from 4,480 KES at baseline to 7,935 KES at midline.
- Household Savings increased by 7,194 KES or (1,055%) from 682 KES at baseline to 7,876 KES at midline.
- BOMA business values increased, on average, nearly 17,000 KES or 47.44% (to 51,604 KES).
- Participants accessed roughly two more income sources per household compared to baseline, for more income diversity and resilience to shocks and emergencies.
- Women’s empowerment increased significantly in three indicators:
-Decision-making (7% increase)
-Leadership (10% increase)
-Local committee membership (3% increase)
- 26% more households were treating water supplies.
- Secondary-school age school enrollment increased from 76% to 88%.
INCOME AND SAVINGS: Business skills training was integral to the program’s success, given the participants’ low literacy rate and limited knowledge of business management at baseline.
EMPOWERMENT: Involvement of men, local community members, and leaders across BOMA’s sequence of interventions was essential in improving participants’ sense of empowerment and increasing their decision-making power.
SUSTAINABILITY: Facilitation of key market linkages and building women’s capacity to pursue new market opportunities has created a strong foundation for sustainability of program impact.
- 86% of participants’ primary school-aged children (6 to 15 years old) were enrolled in school
- 88% of participants’ secondary school-aged children were enrolled in school
The final endline evaluation of this project will also be conducted by researchers from Expanding Opportunities in May 2019.