Kenya is a stunning country known worldwide for its incredible national parks, savannah landscapes and ‘Big Five’ wildlife population.
At first glance, the country seems to have emerged from economic instability into relative prosperity (GDP per capita has nearly doubled in the past decade). However, poverty still affects millions of people’s lives due to immense income inequality.
A minority of highly wealthy individuals are becoming richer and richer, grabbing the lion’s share of the country’s impressive economic performance while millions of people are left behind at the bottom of the ladder. While these super-rich Kenyans enjoy the yields of impressive economic growth, an ever-increasing gap is widening between the wealthy and the poor. In fact, the richest 10% of the population earn on average 23 times more than the poorest 10%.
More than 50 years ago, the eradication of poverty was a major priority for the first Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta. However, more than half a century later, President Uhuru Kenyatta faces the same challenge his father promised to overcome – on a significantly larger scale.
Professor of Business CK Prahalad writes that ‘When the poor at the bottom of the pyramid are treated as consumers, they can reap the benefits of respect, choice, and self-esteem and have an opportunity to climb out of the poverty trap.’ AID are working to unlock this consumer potential that exists within poor communities by equipping entrepreneurs to set up sustainable businesses that sell goods at competitive, accessible prices.
One such project happens in partnership with the Diocese of Kirinyaga in Kenya through the Kirinyaga Community Development Trust (KCDT), a microfinance initiative supporting 900 farmers or entrepreneurs and over 100 clergy. As with the other AID microfinance projects, between 7 to 25 members form groups who provide collateral for one another in repayments, thus building trust and accountability. Click here to find out more about how the project works.
Elizabeth Muthoni, a mother of 3 and grandmother of 6, is one of these members. Her son sadly passed away and she became responsible for one of her grandchildren. As a farmer in Kirinyaga, it was difficult for her to provide secondary school fees for her grandson. Elizabeth decided to join KCDT through her church:
‘I have benefited thrice from loans, the loan has supported me to increase my produce and to pay for my grandchild’s school fees. To me KCDT has been very supportive’.
We praise God that through the KCDT, the consumer potential of those trapped in poverty is being unlocked. Not only does this build control and choice but equally self-esteem and confidence as people access affordable products. Please pray that entrepreneurs and farmers who partner with the KCDT, as well as those who purchase their produce, would place their trust and hopes for the future in Jesus Christ.
‘He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?’ – Romans 8:32.