Start With One - Kenya

Changing the World, One Life at a Time…


When properly harnessed, microfinance offers a variety of benefits to the African people. Foremost, microfinance initiatives can effectively address material poverty, the physical deprivation of goods, services, and the income to attain them. When properly guided, the material benefits of microfinancing can extend beyond the household into the community. At the personal level, microfinance can effectively address issues associated with “non-material poverty, which includes social and psychological effects that prevent people from realizing their potential.

African microfinance is as diverse as the continent itself. An array of approaches have been used, ranging from traditional kinship networks and Revolving Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs) to NGOs and development projects, and funded by both the informal and formal financial sectors, as well as domestic and international and donors. Consequently, examples of African microfinance offer an array of lessons of what works and doesn't work. The goal is to build people's capacity to better become financially viable and self-reliant. It is understood that there is no blueprint for microfinance initiatives; each initiative must adjust to the specific cultural, political, and economic setting in which it operates. Allowing for such diversity, the following general principles are highlighted:

• Pool together people's resources through group organizing
• Rely and build upon what people know – tradition
• Reinforce microfinance to empower the African private sector
• Strive for efficiency
Microfinance is not a panacea for poverty and related development challenges, but rather an important tool in the mission of poverty eradication. Poverty is a multi- dimensional problem, embedded in a complex and interconnected political, economic, cultural, and ecological system. Owing to poverty's large scope and multiplicity of actors, there is no single guaranteed approach to its eradication. Within this system, solutions are as multifaceted as the causes. Such a systems’ perspective is critical in creating an enabling environment for sustainable poverty eradication. Problems and solutions are not isolated phenomena, but occur within an interconnected system in which actors and actions have reciprocal consequences.

Poverty eradication is a complex mission and requires commitment, cooperation, and cohesion at all levels of development – individual, household, community, national, and global. While microfinance alone does not improve roads, housing, water supply, education and health services, it can play an important role in making these and other sustainable contributions to the community.

Emphasis has been placed on adapting principles of traditional finance schemes to modern finance methods, building upon existing African culture to improve microfinance initiatives that are well adapted to Africa’s specific needs. Africa's most valuable resources and ally in poverty eradication is its own people and institutions. Microfinancing, like any strategy for poverty eradication, must involve the people themselves in examining the problems and creating the solutions if it is to be sustainable with those upon whom development is targeted.
Initially Start With One Kenya will launch micro-enterprise with pastors of the United Methodist Church. The purpose is to give an opportunity to pastors to create individual business ventures for themselves in order to provide financial support for themselves and their families.  It is our hope that with the pastors having viable business operations that their families are running that they then will then be freed from worry & stress and thus will be better enabled to serve and grow the church and provide for larger groups of people.  The purpose of the group is for the pastors to have a community of peers where all members encourage and work together towards success while at the same time being held responsible & accountable to each other.   The two biggest personal needs of the pastors here in Kenya is a means for them to support themselves, pastor training and materials for which to work and the network and means to supply basic necessities to their congregations (ie. education, health, clean water, church & community).