“Table banking” may not be a complex financial concept, but it is making a difference in the lives of thousands of women and their families in rural Kenya. It’s a simple idea whereby members gather each month and literally put their money on the table, which then becomes immediately available to members as loans. The practice eliminates bank fees, waiting periods for loan approval and many other obstacles faced by women in Africa who need loans but lack collateral. The loans are used to start revenue-generating projects.
Joyful Women Organization (JoyWo) is one of the most successful table banking groups in Kenya, with a membership of more than 11, 500 women’s groups, each group having 15 to 35 members on average. Started by Rachel Ruto, wife of Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto, in 2009, JoyWo had only 80 members, mainly from Ms. Ruto’s Uasin Gishu County, about 270 km northwest of the capital, Nairobi. The group started with a revolving fund of about $800. In six years the group has expanded to 44 of the 47 counties in Kenya. Its revolving fund has grown to $16 million from members’ contributions, loan repayments, grants and donations from fund-raising.
Today, JoyWo is giving loans to support such projects as greenhouse farming, poultry, horticulture, cattle-rearing and overhead irrigation.
In the past five years the average annual income of more than 740 such women’s organizations worldwide was a mere $20, 000, according to the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, but JoyWo has set its sights even higher.
“We are committed to helping women to rise up because I know a woman is a full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform, ” Ms. Ruto told Africa Renewal.
Irene Chepkoech Tuwei, an unemployed single mother of two, disabled from an early bout of polio and with a past drinking problem, is one of the beneficiaries of JoyWo. According to JoyWo, she joined the organization in late 2010 with an initial contribution of just $2 from her savings. She took a loan of $150, bought two pigs and opened a grocery kiosk. In 2011 she took a $700 loan to improve her small business and buy chickens and a dairy cow, which boosted her income. Last year she took a $3, 000 loan and bought a Ferguson tractor that she leases to farmers at $150 for each acre cultivated. In a good month, she makes about $4, 500. She has considerably increased her shares, making her one of JoyWo’s top savers. She has also bought a car and a motorbike to use in running her business, and is now in the process of opening a petrol station.
“Table banking has transformed my life for the better… it has given me a plate from which I will be eating. I want to be one of the shining examples of successful persons living with disability in the country, ” says Irene, who has shared her story at several JoyWo table banking launches in other counties.
Funding Circle is an online portal which allows savers to lend money directly to small businesses. The portal is the first site to use the process of peer-to-peer lending for business funding in the UK. As of 10 October 2011, Funding Circle has facilitated £23.5 million in loans to small and medium sized firms.
Funding Circle is based in the...
America's first people-to-people lending marketplace, was created to
make consumer lending more financially and socially rewarding for
everyone. The way Prosper works is intuitive to people who have used
eBay. Instead of listing and bidding on items, people list and bid on
loans using Prosper's online auction platform. People who...