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Update on Kenya Integrated Livelihood Improvement Project

Transforming lives through the Village Savings and Loans Project (VSL)

Agnes with her cow.
Agnes with her cow.

September, 2014 – Agnes Muteti, 42 years old, is married to Boniface Muteti and they have four children, Wambua, Theresia, Mutisya and Katulu with the youngest child in primary school and the eldest in college.

She is a farmer and member of Kalumu, a Village Savings and Loans scheme. Before the training on VSL was implemented by Anglican Development Services Eastern (ADSE) – formerly UCCS – she never thought that she would be able to make any savings.

Prior to receiving the VSL training, she had borrowed 5000 Kenyan shillings (KSh) from a local bank and used the money to buy clothing and food for the family. Afterwards the bank, in lieu of payment, auctioned her only goat which she had earned after one month’s of casual labour. Through the VSL scheme, members have between one to three months to start repaying the loan whereas the bank demanded repayment immediately.

Agnes used to be a member of a “merry-go-round” system where each person contributed 100 shillings weekly which would be given to one member per week. It was not sustainable because some members would refuse to pay the money. Currently, she has a total savings of KSh 21,500 at Kalumu VSL and every Monday, they contribute 10 shillings each to a social fund. The group has saved a total of KSh 300,000 and have a social fund of KSh 15,000 (with no interest returned on this particular fund).

Agnes says, “Initially, I took a loan of 300, whereby the empowerment was not high because we just bought food. Through an extensive training from UCCS, I had a plan to buy a cow at a cost of Ksh 30,000. Secondly I took a loan of Ksh 10,000 where I paid the first deposit of the cow. I again took a loan of 20,000 where I finished paying for the cow. When I bought the cow, I was able to milk it daily because it had given birth. Per day I used to get 3 litres in the morning and 2 litres in the afternoon where I sold 4 litres per day at 50 shillings per litre and left the rest for the family. Through this I was able to make income and use the milk to feed the family. ‘By selling the milk I am able to repay the loan … I have also bought fodder feeds for the cow because of the dry spell which is near. I get veterinary services and I still use the same money to pay them. I have used one thousand shillings for artificial insemination from the VSL.”

This is just one example of how projects such as this are changing the lives of people in Kenya by improving their livelihoods, empowering them, and encouraging communities to work together.