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.

 Elizabeth Achieng at her fruit stall, Kibos Road, Kisumu

November 2019: a training course for 25-30 new clients was held in late October and another of similar size is taking place from 25-29 November, with all these clients due to get their first loans in time to benefit from pre Christmas trading. This will bring the total number of clients to 311.

October 2019: a short trip to Kisumu to meet with clients and staff. In over 30 meetings with individual clients, we have seen and heard how training and small loans have strengthened their incomes and households. We also saw what a great impact the group leader training has had, making the groups so much more helpful for their members. 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. 

April 2019: We visited the community of St Michael's Church, Houghton le Spring. We were delighted to get to meet some of you and to share your wonderful cake and coffee! Thank you for your generous support.

January 2019: Our new Project Coordinator, Ms Roselyne Okanda, joined the project at the start of the year.

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. 

 

MICROFINANCE - how it works:

evidence shows that when appropriate training and support is given alongside small loans, microfinance is a highly effective and sustainable means of tackling poverty, which leads to lasting personal and economic development. Business training, small loans and ongoing mentoring empower our clients, helping them to build businesses, support their families, educate their children and strengthen their communities. Improved and more stable incomes enable clients to save, reducing their vulnerability and allowing them to plan for a better future. Finally, as loans are repaid, the capital becomes available to re-lend to another aspiring entrepreneur, so your donation goes on working.

WHY WE ARE 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 prior experience of handling money or of business. We offer training and business support to enable them to gain the skills needed to repay a loan and run a successful business. A five day training course for all new clients covers topics such as costing and pricing, stock management, types of customer, customer relations, record keeping, managing money, the importance of saving and understanding their rights and responsibilities. This training is delivered through 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.

SUPPORT GROUPS

Consisting of 5-15 entrepreneurs from the same area, support groups meet regularly to discuss the progress of their businesses, track loan repayments, operate savings clubs and socialise. By exchanging ideas and encouraging each other, loan repayment rates are increased. Lasting and supportive relationships are formed in these groups - one group has organised a weekly merry-go round to share their kitchen equipment.

The meetings are also used as an opportunity for additional training on topics relevant to the social issues facing the group eg HIV prevention, living with HIV or general health education.

In 2019, extra training for group leaders (chair, secretary and treasurer) has been introduced, to boost the effectiveness of the groups. The training lasts for 2 days and has been very well received.

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

Tanzania.

Despite growth resulting from gold production and tourism, Tanzania remains one of the most impoverished countries in the world. Approximately 36 percent of Tanzanians live below the poverty line. Yet the country’s economic potential is unmistakable.
One out of every three Tanzanians is self-employed, indicating a high level of microenterprise activity. Only 20 percent of the population, however, has access to a formal bank within an hour’s walking distance of their home.

Kenya.

Kenya is among the world’s 30 poorest countries and is home to one of the world’s harshest HIV and AIDS epidemics. More than a half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line. With an estimated population of 436,000, Kisumu has one of Kenya’s highest poverty levels and worst set of health indicators. Approximately 20% of the population is HIV positive.