Table banking for sustainability – Kenya

A group of villagers in Nyakinyua in Kenya save and borrow money to support each other to become economically sustainable.
Cecilia Oman and Mama Ciru in Kenya
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About the Campaign

TABLE BANKING TO SUSTAIN RURAL COMMUNITIES IN KENYA

We work with a group of women (and a few men) who decided to trace their way out of poverty with table-banking. The villagers involved in the programme act as a group in which members save and borrow money, and support each other to become economically sustainable.

Our partner in the program, Amani Women Group, is located in Nyakinyua village in Kenya.

THE CHALLENGES OF LIFE IN UNDER-SERVED AREAS

Nyakinyua village is located 7 km from Molo Town in Kuresoi Constituency, Nakuru County. The area is purely agricultural, with over 98% of the people being subsistence farmers. However, land parcels are getting smaller and smaller as families subdivide the land and pass it down to their children. This leaves people with pieces of land, which are not big enough to feed their families.

Due to climate change, the community is also facing deteriorating the environment they live in. Unpredictable weather patterns make it difficult to rely only on food crops. The lack of governmental support, limited contact with people outside the village, and consequences of past violent events add to the harsh living conditions.

The consequences are living below the poverty line, with many orphans who do not attend school, young people who do not start families, and alcohol abuse.

TABLE BANKING HELPS BREAK THE VICIOUS CIRCLE OF POVERTY

Amani Women Group (AWG), a Community Based Organisation from Nyakinyua, came up with the idea of how to break the vicious circle of poverty and the trend of moving out of the village. Fifteen people (10 women and 5 men) came together and saved an equal amount of money each month. Thus they followed the traditional SACCO model in Kenya.

HR&S and Action10 initiated the collaboration with Amani Women Group in 2011. We have joined the already running practice by enabling resources for bigger loans. In 2020 we strengthened the partnership by introducing local coaches.

“Our main goal is to improve our livelihoods. We would love to own a bigger piece of land, build houses for renting out. You know, we are not so young… we would like to age gracefully. What will we do if we are not able to farm anymore because of advanced age? We will be sipping our tea peacefully as we look back at how far we have come and the success. We will train others also, and tell them how we made it.”

Mama Ciru, President and Founder of Amani Women Group

HOW DOES TABLE BANKING WORK?

Every time they gather, members place their savings on the table. After contributing for four months, a member can borrow from the collected money. The interest of 10%, paid for the borrowed money, progressively increases the fund. As the turnaround increases, more options for improving their living conditions are available to the group members. And the group itself can move forward with new projects.

HR&S /Action10 has so far invested 4,000 Eur.

THE PROGRAMME ACHIEVEMENT

Apart from providing loans for crop growing, cattle breeding, and starting and developing small businesses, Amani Women Group started a new project that benefits the whole community. They bought a piece of land, which gets leased out to members and non-members.

Mama Ciru, the group leader, testifies how the group has benefited them:

“Some people had no houses of their own; they have been able to build through this project. Others have been able to buy land, pay school fees, and buy some items in the house. People borrow and pay back money in time, except for a few cases. The group has been inactive since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. We, however, met recently, and members are positive. We are to start with energy again. Those with debts have agreed to pay.”

THE STORY OF AMANI GROUP

“Amani” is a Swahili word for peace.

Mama Ciru started Amani Women Group in 1995. Today they are 14 members – not only women as you might assume from their name but also a couple of men – living in Nyakinyua village in Kenya.

Amani Women Group is a registered community-based organisation whose main aim is to empower individuals economically. The group seeks to provide financial resources to individuals to engage in livelihood projects through table banking.