Table banking

A women cooperative the ‘Amani women group’ has approached the HR&S Programme partner in Kenya the ‘Livelihood Improvement Programme’ (LIP) and requested support with setting up a Table banking institution in a village in Sirikwa. A Table banking institution borrows the idea from the SACCO concept and adopts it to the conditions in rural areas, which means little resources and weak infrastructure. Kenya has a well established tradition with ‘SACCO’. The word SACCO means Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisation.

A SACCO is owned, managed and run by its members and a member of a SACCO is a person admitted to membership after registration in accordance with the SACCO’s by-laws. The way SACCOs operate are:  A person becomes a member, sets her saving target (maybe €500) and saving time (maybe 6-12 months) and then starts saving. After reaching the saving target the member is entitled to borrow 2-4 times the saving depending on the regulation of the SACCO.

Cecilia and Mama Shiru, Founder and President of Amani Woman group.

The paying back period is 2-4 years and the interest is around 12 %. The debt is paid monthly and is often withdrawn automatically from the member’s salary. Repayment ability is assessed at the time of registration, often as a result of the member’s salary, and determines the maximum level of the loan. The loans are secured, often by a guarantors’ shares and sometimes by town properties.

Thus, the Amani Women Group is the innovator and the owner of the programme and LIP and HR&S are facilitators, together with Action10 in Sweden. Action10 provided a start-up capital of 2,000 € in 2015. The Amani Women group arranged awareness raising sessions about saving attitudes and thus put strong emphasis on the community to save before being approved to take a loan.

The purpose was to develop a deep understanding about saving before investing, and about the obligation to pay back in time. Another 2,000 Euro was raised by Action10 and offered to Amani women group.

The long-term sustainable economy goal can be that the interest can covers the salary of one staff members to run a sustainable Table banking business in Sirikwa.

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