Post written by Mary Kiguru and Mike Calvert
Five months on from the last post that celebrated 7 years of Sujali, I’m pleased to report that the group of women … and men now … is growing and thriving. Let’s begin with the founder members, Alice, Susan and Jacinta.
Alice continues to expand her egg production. Having exceeded the capacity of her first property, she has gone out and bought a farm. Both properties will be managed on-site by an employee and the farm is having a house built for the worker. She already has 1,000 chickens on the new site. The old site had capacity for 3,500 chickens and the farm has capacity for 10,000. Such entrepreneurial zeal is reflected in the size of her loans that have grown to KES 500,000 (more than £4000!). Her first loan was for KES15,000 (£200).
Jacinta has increased her herd to 3 cows. Her first was a giant risk and took the breathe away from the other members of the group at the time. However, in addition to her ‘hotel’ (café) and her catering business with her husband Steve, her original cow Daisy has given birth to two calves and one of them has given birth to a further generation. Excess milk is sold and used at the café.
Susan has invested wisely in her clothes shop and taken out loans over the years to increase her stock and to sell accessories.
The group met up in Nairobi in October to meet Mike who was visiting the city. Others were able to report their ongoing successes as well as reflect on some losses including the motorcyclist who was murdered for his motorcycle.
The men are integrating well into the group with successful increase in trade for Kitonga with his hardware business and Kyalo (in photo) with his ‘hotel’. More men are queuing up to join the group but careful vetting and restrictions on loans (dictated by savings) keeps the finances under control.
The group still need more coaching and there are plans for more design thinking with support from Kendi, a lecturer at Africa Nazarene and the interest rates are always up for discussion. At 8-10%, they are still half the commercial rate and available to people who would not normally be granted loans. All the surplus goes back into the bank to be used for loans and the pot is growing.
At the time of writing KES118 = £1.