Our microcredit programme helps women to run a business by providing small loans, typically ranging from £40 – £110. Since the programme began in 2010, we have made 1,919 loans to 1,073 women (December 2019). Our interest rate is 24% (simple) interest. Costs are high compared to UK rates because KICS team members have to collect payments in person. Rates, however, are competitive.
Many women often use their first loan to buy seeds, tools or rent land, and this means that they can grow more and better food for their families or sell their produce in market. About 60 per cent of those who receive loans use the money for agriculture, and the rest run businesses such as food stalls and tailoring.
All women receive financial training so that they understand how loans work. This helps women to plan what they will use the loans for and to understand how they will pay back the loan, with how much interest, and how much return (profit) they might make. Money is borrowed in groups of five – this gives participants confidence and allows them to help each other.
When women move from agriculture to business, we provide training in how to run a business, covering topics such as the types of businesses which work well, where to operate, how to set and keep to budgets, and how to manage accounts.
Many of the women on the programme are on their second, third, or fourth loan. By the fourth loan, we hope they have enough experience to use commercial credit sources.
The microcredit scheme is audited annually.