The Government of Kenya’s Program for Rural Outreach of Financial Innovations and Technologies (PROFIT) was designed to make the transformative power of BOMA’s poverty graduation program available to 1,600 women in Samburu County in Northern Kenya. The women entrepreneurs enrolled in PROFIT graduated in June 2019. Today, they are making remarkable strides in staying resilient and navigating the economic aftershocks of COVID-19.
The Nainyoyie Lolkunono savings group in Lolkunono village was among the 101 savings groups funded by the PROFIT program. The members of savings groups meet monthly to deposit and withdraw savings.
In June 2020, the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF), a semi-autonomous Kenyan government agency that provides accessible and affordable credit to support women businesses gave the Nainyoyie Lolkunono savings group a loan of Kshs. 100,000 (US $939).
The participants identified three viable businesses to conduct to repay the loan. These are:
- Expansion of convenience store businesses,
- Livestock trading and
- Poultry farming
The loan will be repaid using the M-Pesa digital banking and payments system. M-Pesa allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money, pay for goods and services, access credit and savings, all with a mobile device. BOMA gives all of its woman entrepreneurs a mobile phone at the time of enrollment.
The group has received training modules on a wide variety of business, health and humans rights topics from their mentot Murda Lekopole. These include inventory management, record keeping, malaria treatment and prevention, family planning, maternal and child health, water sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, girl’s education, and gender empowerment and women’s rights from their mentor, The participants also received government issued cards for health insurance.
The progress of the Nainyoyie Lolkunono saving women group is a great example of women gaining in the skills and confidence to start their own businesses, diversify into new income streams and make meaningful connections with external markets and the partners. These factors are especially critical in helping women entrepreneurs build sustainable income streams, navigate shocks like the coronavirus pandemic and forge a path out of poverty.
“Since I joined the Nainyoyie Savings group as a chair lady, my leadership and communication skills have greatly improved. Our group savings box has always saved us whenever we need money for emergencies. Our household lifestyle has changed for the better. I am sure I can lead any committee or chama if appointed, nominated or elected.