Just Small Change

Growing livelihoods, overcoming poverty, one small business at a time.

   

Our mission:

To enable the very poor in developing countries to build a pathway out of poverty through small business development.

Our work:

Working through partner organisations in developing countries, we facilitate local microfinance schemes which respond directly to the needs of vulnerable rural and urban communities.

Just Small Change is a Registered Charity.

 

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

 Elizabeth Achieng at her fruit stall, Kibos Road, Kisumu

 

Thank you, Micro Startups (www.microstartups.org) for making us your charity of the month for September 2020!  

So far Kisumu County has to date recorded only 56 confirmed COVID-19 cases (11 August 2020). Many of our clients continue to be affected by the stringent lockdown measures (including overnight curfew, closure of schools, universities and of many businesses) which have thrown many Kenyans out of work, reducing spending power.  As in the UK, those selling groceries and food have been least affected.  Clients selling secondhand clothes have struggled, imports of these from Europe being temporarily stopped. Clients who had contracts to supply schools or businesses have had to search for new outlets. Overall, clients report much lower sales. The recent easing of the curfew (which now starts at 9pm rather than 7pm) has restored some of the evening trade on which many clients depend. 

With public gatherings banned, support groups have not been able to meet, and training has been suspended. Meanwhile, Roselyne and Emily have worked hard to keep in touch with all clients through one to one visits, while observing WHO recommended health guidance. Here are photos recently sent by Emily. Masks are obligatory at all times when out of home.

Recruitment and training will restart once public meetings are permitted; extra help will also be offered to any clients who need to re-establish their livelihoods. Thank you for your support and interest during these challenging times. 

 

December 2019: a training course for 26 new clients was held in late October and another of similar size took place from 2-6 December. All these received their first loans shortly after completing training.

   
 New clients trained October 2019  New clients trained December 2019

October 2019: a short trip to Kisumu. In over 30 meetings with individual clients, we saw and heard how the project has strengthened their incomes and households. We also saw the great impact of the group leader training has had, in making groups more effective. Here are some members of the newly trained Molem group at their weekly meeting, where they track their loan repayments and run a group savings club, as well as discussing their businesses and enjoying social time together. (P.s. this trip was funded by the trustees, not from charity funds:-))

May/August 2019: 27 new clients received training in May, and a further 26 in August. A two day leadership training course was also held in August for 50 group leaders, so that they are better equipped to support their group members.

Group leaders training August 2019 
   
 New clients trained in May 2019  New clients trained in August 2019

June 2019: We published our second Impact Report. It's available to read or download from our Reports page.

May 2019: A 5 day training course was delivered to 34 new clients. They received their first loans in July. 

January 2019: Our new Project Coordinator, Ms Roselyne Okanda, joined the project.

Training courses in May and July 2018: the participants with their completion certificates.

 

Training courses June and July 2017: the participants, with their training certificates. 

 

MICROCREDIT - how it works:

Business training, small loans and ongoing mentoring help our clients to build businesses, support their families, educate their children and strengthen their communities. Improved incomes enable clients to save, reducing their vulnerability and allowing them to plan for a better future. Finally, as loans are repaid, the capital can be re-loaned to another aspiring entrepreneur, so your donation goes on working.

Clients from the same area meet regularly as a group to discuss the progress of their businesses, operate savings clubs and socialise. Lasting and supportive friendships are formed.

In 2019, 2 day training for group leaders (chair, secretary and treasurer) has been introduced, to boost the effectiveness of the groups.

 

WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT

LOW COST: Working with UK volunteers and local partner charities in the field keeps our costs to an absolute minimum, ensuring your donation has maximum impact in transforming lives in developing countries. All donations, including any gift aid received, is sent overseas to fund our projects.

DIRECT LINK: Our close links with local partners means we can provide feedback to our UK donors on the progress of businesses & improvement in the lives of people and also enables excellent accountability regarding the use of the funds we send to our partners in the field. We know exactly how your donations are being spent.

BUSINESS TRAINING AND SUPPORT: Most of our clients have very little experience of handling money or of business. We provide training and mentoring to help them gain these skills. A five day training course for all new clients covers topics such as costing, pricing, stock management, customer relations, credit control, record keeping, managing money, the importance of saving and understanding their rights and responsibilities. Methods include role plays and games so that it is accessible to women with no formal education. Ongoing mentoring is provided once the business is up and running too, via regular visits from the programme coordinator and the credit officer.

LOCAL FIELD PARTNERS: We work through local field partners who are already closely involved with marginalized communities. They have professional social workers and healthcare staff who work with our project coordinator to identify potential clients.This ensures your donation reaches the most needy as efficiently as possible, and has maximum impact. 

VISION AND MOTIVATION

We believe that with suitable training and support, microfinance has the power to unlock the personal and economic potential of the poorest communities, allowing them the opportunity to achieve a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose.

As Christians, we are responding to Jesus Christ’s call to love and serve the poor. We serve all people regardless of race, faith, ethnicity and gender.

WHERE WE WORK

Kisumu County, Kenya.

In Kenya, over one person in three lives in absolute poverty (less than $1.90 a day) and the country is home to one of the world’s harshest HIV and AIDS epidemics.  With an estimated population of just over one million, Kisumu County has one of Kenya’s highest poverty levels and worst set of health indicators. Approximately 20% of the population is HIV positive. Female life expectancy is 58 years. 60% of the population live in absolute poverty. There are 35,000 orphans, mostly cared for in relations' or neighbours' families, and 32,000 children engaged in child labour because their carers cannot afford school fees. Just Small Change works with individual households to raise incomes so that our clients can meet their essential household needs, pay school fees and save a little to provide more security.