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WMI's Kenya Loan Program Operations

Pamela Kilua with her children"Sometimes they call us women the same word that they use for donkey. We are seen as work animals. A woman's life can be so miserable. You are expected only to have children and keep the animals. Your husband hardly allows you to leave the compound. You know life to only be hard work and no reward. I saw my mother live like a slave and my older sisters and I knew I would never allow myself to be put in that position." read more

- Pamela Kilua (WMI loan hub founding coordinator) with her children.

WMI started loan hubs in Kenya in 2011 to combat the extreme poverty and discrimination experienced by rural women in the western and central regions of the country. Partnering with local community based organizations (CBOs) that operate the loan program on a day-to-day basis, WMI borrowers have experienced significant improvements in their household living standards and their personal/business skills.

WMI Impact in Kenya

KENYAThrough WMI loans and business training, rural women have increased the productivity of their businesses and improved their standard of living as well.

Before entering the loan program:

  • 73% of borrowers were earning less than $250/year
  • Only 2% of borrowers were earning over $1,000/year

After 6 months in the loan program:

  • Only 28% of borrowers surveyed were earning less than $250/year
  • 16% of borrowers surveyed were earning over $1,000/year

WMI Kenya Factbook 2013

This dramatic improvement in income leads to more meals, more mosquito nets, more shoes and uniforms for children, and overall healthier families for the borrowers. Review the 2013 Kenya Factbook for a comprehensive look at loan program impact.

Meet the Kenya Loan Program Administrators

Pamela Naitetoi KiluaEach WMI loan hub is headed by a local woman administrator who coordinates loan program operations. These women are charismatic village leaders who command respect in the community. Pamela Naitetoi Kilua is 31 years old...read more

Region Background

Kenya Loan Operations

Central Kenya

Ntumburi and Ngarendare are villages located in Meru County and Laikipia County respectively, where WMI operates loan hubs in partnership with Lewa Conservancy. The loan hubs further the community conservation philosophy Lewa has pioneered in the region.

Both are extremely rural and impoverished regions. Poverty in this area stems from the combination of a lack of sufficient water and an increasingly dry climate. This makes farming difficult and greatly affects the health of villagers. Along with malnourishment, diseases such as malaria, typhoid, and HIV/AIDS are common. Additionally, much of the economy is based on agriculture, livestock, and trade. Tourism is also a major component of the economy due to its close proximity to Mt. Kenya.

Many of the people in this Central area are Maasai, a semi-nomadic ethnic group, whose customs and beliefs date back hundreds of years. Their social structure is traditionally patriarchal, with men making the major decisions. Their lifestyle revolves around their cattle, which is a source of wealth and food. Men are born to be warriors and women take on most of the household responsibilities. They feed and raise the cattle, raise the children, and take care of the daily household chores. With the WMI loan program we see these roles changing gradually. Women are becoming more independent and husbands are assisting their wives with their businesses as well as with household chores.

Western Kenya

Shikokho in the Western Province of Kenya. Situated near Lake Victoria, the climate is very tropical, with lush forestry and rolling hills. Agriculture drives the economy, along with trade and livestock. Tourism is also popular with local companies offering safaris and other expeditions. Poverty and literacy are major local issues: the majority of people live on less than $5 a day and more than half of the people in this region are illiterate. Malaria is prevalent, especially due to the tropical climate, and HIV/AIDS is a major problem as well. Most of the people are Bantu speaking, sharing languages with Eastern Uganda. Women are critical to the well-being of the communities: their responsibilities include not only taking care of the children, but providing for the family as well. WMI partners with Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland to provide resources and back up support on the ground to the Western Kenya loan hub.

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