INTERIM REPORT FOR REPORTING PERIOD (JANUARY TO JUNE 2007)

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1 TRAINING AND MICRO-CREDITS FOR WOMEN S GROUPS A PROJECT FUNDED BY INSTITUT CO-OPERATION BEI ENTWICKLUNGS PROJEKTEN (ICEP) INTERIM REPORT FOR REPORTING PERIOD (JANUARY TO JUNE 2007)

2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This report summarizes the progress made by the Northern Rangelands Trust Training and Micro Credits for Women Groups Project between January and June 2007, detailing both the achievements and challenges that have arisen during this period. In January 2007, the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) changed its approach to the programme which was necessitated after an evaluation of the activities of the first half. A new structure was put in place to enable smooth running of the programme. This involved working more closely with the conservancies with regard to loan administration, follow-up, repayment and also assessing group business to establish growth, development and dynamics. The business loans are now disbursed through the conservancy which then has the responsibility of co-coordinating with the Women s umbrella committee to ensure proper allocation and repayment. In this way, the conservancy plays a role in linking NRT with the women groups. Thereafter, implementation of the activities identified for the first half of Year Two proceeded more efficiently than was the experience during Year One of the project. During this reporting period, a total of (89) woman from West Gate and eighty-eight (88) women from Kalama were trained in Business Development. The training was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Social Services and Samburu Integrated Development Programme (SIDEP), a local NGO involved in micro-enterprise development in the area. It is encouraging that Women Groups from Melako Community Conservancy have also requested to be incorporated into the micro-credit scheme. Changes are also being seen in people s attitudes towards the project as the women take charge of setting up and carrying out their respective businesses with marked confidence. The NRT team visits frequently to assist the groups whenever necessary. All in all, the community has generally responded well to the programme with an interest being shown for the programme to be extended to the men. Prepared by: Celina Butali Enterprise & Product Development Officer Northern Rangelands Trust 2

3 PROGRESS OVER THE REPORTING PERIOD. Summary of Progress made during January - July Selection of women groups: As previously reported, selection of the groups eligible for micro-credit was done in 2006, by identifying those women groups that were already active and had established a degree of economic activity. Sixteen (16) groups were selected from West Gate, eight (8) groups from Kalama and three (3) groups from Melako community conservancies. 2. Capacity building for the women: A three-day business development in-situ training workshop was run for individual women group members. Five (5) women from each of the groups in West Gate and seven (7) from each of the groups in Kalama were selected to undergo the training which was being conducted in collaboration with the Department of Social Services and SIDEP. The modules taught during the training included:- a) Entrepreneurship business location, competition, opportunities, types of businesses, legal requirements. b) Business Finance sources of finance, cash books, book keeping, financing a small business, etc. c) Marketing and Product Development focusing on the 4 P s - product, price, place and promotion. d) Business Organization and Planning - lay out, minimizing cost and maximizing profits, personnel management, and stock control books. e) Credit Management- how much, of what use, when, interest, how to repay, implication of taking a loan. f) Leadership and Governance focusing on group dynamics, solidarity, by-laws etc. One of the goals of the training was to enable the women to share the benefit of their training and train other women in their villages to enable them develop and run their respective business enterprises. The training was also tailored to equip the women with the necessary skills to better manage their finances. Due to the high illiteracy levels amongst the women, the training was specifically tailored to make use of local skills to tackle the more difficult topics such as record keeping, amongst others. 3

4 West Gate and Kalama have since applied for a loan from NRT for the development of enterprises which compliment tourism activities and community development. These include the making of beaded jewellery, baskets, manyatta dukas (village shops) and household accessories. Kalama Women at a training session Kalama women at a group discussion during the training. 4

5 3. Micro-credit Allocation and Administration: Although there is a high demand for micro-credit services in and around the NRT areas, a very slim percentage of the people are turning to Banks and other Financial Service Institutions for assistance and instead prefer villagebased informal savings and remittance services. As a result, a majority of the rural women form Merry Go Rounds, where small groups come together and contribute a small amount of money which is circulated to one member each month to benefit that member in one way or another. Once the women had undergone the business development training course such that they are able to appreciate the intricacies involved in running a successful business, they were able to qualify for loans under the micro-credit scheme. To date NRT has already sent out loan application forms to Kalama and West Gate conservancies. The loans will then be vetted and approved by the loans committee and the women conservancy committees and later on disbursed as per the agreed upon structures. Umoja Women s Group is one of the beneficiaries of the scheme. Having borrowed Kshs. 325,000/= in 2006, they have since repaid a total of Kshs. 245,460/= to leave a balance of Kshs. 95,750/= which they intend to pay off by August The loan has enabled Umoja Women s Group to increase household livestock numbers and start up businesses such as the buying and selling of goats, running manyatta dukas (shops) and beadwork that supplement their family incomes. The table below details loans and current repayment amounts from Umoja (all amounts in Kenya Shillings) Group Members Members funded Total Credit received Repayments of Principal Repayments Interest Total Savings* Outstanding June 2007 Loans Default Loans Default Rate Umoja , , , , % Total , , , , % * Currently savings are made individually through K-REP Bank Challenges To ensure the sustainability of these Women s Groups, there is need to ensure that continuous training is availed to the members. Not only will this serve to strengthen the groups as a whole, but it will also enable them to expand as they reach more women in their areas. Indeed, the women have themselves realized the need for continuous consultations and information sharing to create greater awareness amongst their peers about the scheme. 5

6 It is also a challenge to ensure that repayments are being done regularly and on time by the members. The Groups Loan Committees which consist of chairladies representing each of the conservancy women groups, NRT and a conservancy representative preferably the community manager and accountant have taken it upon themselves to succeed in this role and results thus far are encouraging. Finally, although NRT provides the logistical support to the project, it has become increasingly important to ensure that the participants are not only taking an active role within the project but that they also have ownership over the same. CONCLUSIONS AND LESSONS LEARNT There has been a significant change and accuracy in record keeping and general business management. This reflects on the increasing demand for the service based on perceived benefits. The loan repayment period remains twelve (12) months regardless of the amount borrowed. This gives members enough time to reap maximum benefits from the loans. In the first half of 2006, loans were advanced to 22 women of Umoja Women Group to a tune of Kshs. 325,000/=. It is worth noting that the savings and credit groups have now accumulated their own savings and deposits are being made directly into K-Rep Bank. Incomes have increased which will eventually improve the standard of living for members and their families. Investment as a result of increased incomes has improved gender relations in homes as spouses assist each other in meeting bills for school fees, medical among others. When people are empowered with knowledge, they can effectively manage their work. Access to credit and ability to generate income is a real need that people have, and microcredit services are a key to poverty alleviation. The loans enable beneficiaries to invest in projects they would not have managed to invest in otherwise. The interest people have shown for the micro-credit programme is an indicator that they have confidence in the programme; a phenomenon reflected in the increase in the level of community involvement in the programme. 6

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