Most families in Africa live in abject poverty for generations, with no hope for a better future, as traditional bank loans are unavailable to those without collateral or job experience. There is not a shortage of hard-working individuals in Africa, but there is a severe deficiency of monetary and instructional resources available to start entrepreneurial businesses for those who lack adequate collateral for traditional loans.
Reach the Children solves this disparity by providing capital and training to associations. (Associations are groups of 20-30 individuals who come together and register with their government as an autonomous non-profit organization.) Individuals within the association receive training and mentoring, and the group administers a small loan to each member in turn. This helps the individuals provide for themselves and their families, send their children to school, and obtain proper health care.
Geoffrey was 21, but had no skills to lift himself out of the poverty he had grown up in. He followed the steps to obtain a micro-enterprise loan through Reach the Children, developed a business plan with the help of the staff, received a loan and made his first big business investment -- a lawn mower. Within a week he had landscaping clients including churches, estates and businesses. Two years later he showed up to work smiling in a suit and tie; he had four other young men working for him, each with a mower and other tools. Geoffrey paid back his original loan and hasn't needed another. He has reinvested into his business and seen it grow.
Reach the Children Kenya breaks the cycle of poverty by working with registered self-help groups within communities to improve the lives of underprivileged children. Entrepreneurship skills training, revolving loan fund, savings mobilization and mentoring services are some of the products offered that guarantee sustainability and self reliance of the group entity and individual beneficiaries respectively.
We implement Micro Enterprise Program through community based registered Self Help Groups in collaboration with other stake holders to bring full value of the program to the target beneficiaries. We build capacity in all aspects of the Micro Enterprise Program at the community level.
This approach is to ensure sustainability and self-reliance of the organization and individual members’ projects. Through Micro Enterprise Program we offer: -
- Entrepreneurship awareness seminaries
- Entrepreneurial skills training
- Local resource mobilization and management
- Savings mobilization and management of credit schemes
- Revolving loan funding for micro businesses
- Mentoring program beneficiaries
- Evaluation, monitoring and statistical reporting
A community based Self Help Group duly registered with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Social Services and whose membership is 35 having the following attributes is our model. Leadership democratically elected , Proactive management committee, Training committee, Loan processing committee, Welfare committee, Collateral groups of 5 (co guarantors), Self Help Group savings accounts , Members relatively poor and have children among them orphans, Stable membership living in the same vicinity and Good achievable objectives.
We run a one-day seminar for all members in entrepreneurship awareness creation aimed at achieving entrepreneur seizure. This is followed by a 5 days workshop in entrepreneurship skills training of trainers (TOT). Having satisfactorily completed trainers course, certified and awarded certificate, the trained trainers then run an 8 weeks 10 lesson entrepreneurship skills training for the rest of the self help group members. Training committee in collaboration with the Self Help Group management committee and Reach The Children ensure that the training is effective. The responsibility lies with the training committee.Business proposals
Once the would be beneficiaries have successfully completed the entrepreneurial skills training, each person makes a choice, writes a business proposal and applies for a business loan from the Self Help Group. The loan processing committee validates and approves proposals and loans applied for. The self-help group then applies funds from Reach The Children.
Revolving Business Loan Fund
Qualified persons certified from the entrepreneurial skills training whose business proposal and business loans applications are approved receive revolving business loan funds to start/expand their businesses. Minimum loan per person is limited at US$123 (1 US$ ≡Kshs 76) funds are sources by Reach The Children from Donors, Governments well wishers, etc.
The program involves 10 loan cycles. Each cycle takes 6 months. 1 year covers 2 cycles. All loan issued in a particular cycle must be fully recovered before proceeding to start disbursing funds for the next cycle. In each cycle both external funds and local group savings are used to cover loans. Repayment period per loan is limited to 6 months only this being equivalent to a loan cycle.
Security for the Loan Fund
The cluster of 5 acts as guarantors together with the entire membership of the Self Help Group. Defaulted amount is to be paid promptly by the co-guarantors or the entire Self Help Group.
Each Self Help Group is to run through 10 loan cycles, each cycle taking 6 months. External revolving business funding is required for first cycle, second, third and fourth cycles. The rest of the cycles use recycled external funds and self-help saving schemes funds. At the end of the 10th cycle, the self-help group and individual members’ projects are self-sustaining and the target beneficiaries self-reliant. Loaning factor is on a decreasing trend eventually weaning off loans an indication of self-reliance.
At the end of the 10th cycle, a successful Self Help Group receives an amount equal to her savings as grant. Balance of the external revolving business fund is channeled to start new projects with new Self Help Groups.