Microfinance Research and Work in Kenya
Hello, firtsly let me apologise for the lack of a constant stream of updates on the microfinance research project and its findings. The lack of reliable internet access during my first weeks in Nairobi, Kenya practically made me give up on that course! Anyway, now that the project is done, I hope to give you a summarised, yet detailed, account of the nature of work in Kenya.
I arrived in Nairobi in eraly July, as soon as the Wwarwick academic year was done. My first task was to get in touch with the various officials of Kenya's microfinance institutions (MFIs). I was then able to organise several interviews the following week. I began by interviewing Ann Mutahi, chairperson of the Association of Microfinance Institutions (AMFI) Kenya, as well as CEO of Faulu Kenya ltd and Kenya ECLOF Ltd. This gave me a good introduction into the nature of microfinance in kenya, which you will see in the final project report.
In the second week, I was on attachment at Kenya Eclof Ltd in Nairobi, learning about a ew management information system software that they were installing. Ffrom what I saw, the demands for efficient software by MFIs in Kenya is extremely high due to their large scale credit and savings operations. During the next four weeks, I spent my time working as an intern at Faulu Kenya Ltd, a leading kenyan MFI. I was attached at their Nairobi Centra field office and worked mainly as an assistant to the loan officers in the field. It is this internship that taght me the most about the operations and challenges that characterise Kenya's microfinance industry. I was able to observe first hand the group co-guaranteeing methodology, client group organisation and the provision of credit and savings services by MFIs. It is only really by working in the field that one comes to appreciate the scale of microfinance. My last week, was spent on attachment at the Kenya Rural Enterprise Program (KREP) Development Agency (KDA). This is a donor funded research and development institution that manages various microlending pilot programs involving marginalised groups e.g. youth groups, HIV infected and affected, women, etc.
Throughout my time in Nairobi, I was able to visit slums and shanty towns in Kibera, Mathare, Kiambiu, Githurai, Marurui, Eastleigh, Kahawa West, Kawangware; all of which taught me that the poor can enrich themselves if given the tools to do so.
The week after, I spent compiling an intensive week-long report writing that I sent to the project's sponsors The Reinvention Centre, Uni of Warwick.
Overall is was a fantastic learning experience. One that I believe need more contribution from students here at Warwick. One that will also help me contribut to this global microfinance movement.