Microfinance for Kenyan Women

Hearts of San Antonio - Gathima Women's Group, Kenya

Microfinance refers to a movement that envisions a world in which low-income households have access to financial services to finance their income-producing activities, build assets, and stabilize consumption.
Hearts of San Antonio, has partnered with the women of Gathima village, Kenya, in our efforts to create new opportunities for women who endeavor to create their own micro-enterprise.

The mission will empower poor women entrepreneurs in Kenya to help lift themselves out of poverty through enhanced accessibility to sustainable financial services. Hearts of San Antonio provides financial services to women who do not have any access to financial services. Our typical client is the woman who makes under $1 per day, lives without electricity or running water and has less than four years of formal education and is illiterate. We work with subsistence farmers who depend upon the rainfall to live—when it rains, they survive, when there is drought, they starve. Ultimately, we will provide hope and a hand—up to those who have been marginalized by society

Our goal is to use group-based lending and work exclusively with impoverished Kenyan women. Our mission is to combat poverty by empowering poor women entrepreneurs in Kenya. We would like to offer a variety of financial services to the poorest of the poor who do not have any access to financial services.This includes access to micro-loans, which can be used to start or expand their small businesses.

Pictures of Gathima Women's Group, Gathima, Kenya

This Nairobi group of women, led by Mary Gakunga, facillitate the project by providing support, and encouragement to the Gathima Women's Group.

We raise our finances to support these women through monthly coin donations by our members and well wishers. We also  fundraise by selling varoius donated items at our local Busby's Flea Market.
Pictures of  members of Hearts of San Antonio, during a Flea Market fundraising event.

The Gathima project is continuing to grow and the group has explored and invested in three things:

2. Rabbit Farming
This is currently a very lucrative business in the region  with the market ranging from local to export and also selling to other breeders.

This entails a low capital investment of building simple cages from easily available materials and using local carpenters.

Labor requirements are manageable and do not take away from other activities to generate food for the family.

The investment does not attract thieves or people trying to get rich quickly in the village.

Rabbits take about 6 months to mature, breed easily and quickly.

2. Round Robin (microfinance) loans

Funds have been given to the three groups of women for a round robin shared loan. Interest is to be used to buy feed for the rabbits while the loans revolve.

3. Mentoring

Mentoring relationship was created.The Nairobi group of women who were born in Gathima, but live in the city provide support, encouragement and village visits to support the “mother” in the village in their business ventures.

A basket weaving business is in progress for the elderly women who cannot be involved in labor intensive activities.
Materials and tools were purchased and project is ongoing.
Group size – The membership is now composed of 100 committed women in three groups. Each group operates as a business team.