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.

 Loans to date: 623

Elizabeth Achieng at her fruit stall, Kibos Road, Kisumu

November 2018: We have just returned from a short visit to Kisumu. While we were there we met with almost 40 clients, visiting their businesses and hearing at first hand about their successes, challenges and hopes for the future. We were very impressed with their determination to succeed in building a better life, and by the improvements in living standards which they have already achieved. It was clear that clients feel empowered by the training and loans they have received. We also attended table banking meetings. Table banking was introduced to our programme this year to improve its sustainability by encouraging clients to save. You can read more about how table banking works here. During our visit we saw that the project is having a very positive impact on the lives of the clients and their families. Using the information and data we have gathered, we are now preparing our 2018-2019 impact report, which will be available in Spring 2019. Meanwhile, we have outlined some of the clients' stories on the 'Our Clients' page.

Because of the growth and success of the programme, a Project Coordinator is currently being recruited to work with Angelina. Plans are already in place to train and lend to a further 150 clients during 2019, while also continuing to mentor the 195 existing clients. 

Here you can see Esther making chapatti. At present she supplies to other food sellers but hopes one day to have her own snack bar so she can sell directly to customers. 

In line with Just Small Change's commitment to pass on 100% of all donations to our projects, the cost of our visit was not paid by Just Small Change.

July 2018: on finally reaching the end of the school year in the UK, we were delighted to receive a generous cheque from Year 6 at St Gregory's School, Stratford upon Avon. The children had raised the funds through running micro businesses themselves! What a great idea!

June 2018: Thanks to the wonderful support we have received, 25 ladies received business training in March, and a further 25 in June. The June training, as well as the loans for these 25 new clients, was generously funded by the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, Harpenden. Many thanks!

March 2018 training group                                                        June 2018 training group

 

We are discussing future expansion with our partners, OLPS, in Kisumu. They have a further 800 potential clients for our programme, mostly single heads of households each with several child dependents including many orphans. So we continue to fundraise! If you are feel able to support us, please see the 'How you can help' page for ideas. We published in April our first Impact Report, which details the outcomes of the work of Just Small Change from 2015 to March 2018. You can download this from the Reports page on the website (see tab farthest to the right), to see what a donation to Just Small Change can achieve.  

Round up of 2017:

In March, Angelina trained 25 new clients, advancing loans to them all in April. In May we made a short trip to our partners in Kisumu, where we met 29 clients, visited their businesses and discussed with them their challenges, hopes and plans for the future. We are immensely encouraged by the improvements in income, nutrition and housing which these ladies had achieved through running their businesses. Their self esteem had grown; they now felt they had a voice in the community.  It was great to meet Angelina, the project coordinator for the first time, and to see her at work. This visit was funded privately by the trustees, at no cost to Just Small Change.

In June and July 2017, Angelina ran two more 5 day business training courses. Here are the participants, with their training certificates. 

 By November 2017,  Angelina had advanced start up loans to all these ladies. By July 2018, 29 of them had fully repaid their loans and borrowed again, this time for a larger amount of Ksh 20,000, which they use to expand their businesses.

MICROFINANCE - how it works:

we believe that microfinance is a sustainable means of tackling poverty, which leads to lasting personal and economic development. Business training, small loans and ongoing mentoring empower our clients to build businesses, support their families and transform their communities. As loans are repaid, the capital becomes available to re-lend to another aspiring entrepreneur.

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.

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.

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 covers topics such as costing and pricing, working as a group, managing their money 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 Angelina, the programme coordinator.

TRUST GROUPS

Consisting of 5-10 entrepreneurs from the same area, trust groups meet regularly to discuss the progress of their businesses and receive training. By exchanging ideas and encouraging each other, loan repayment rates are increased. Lasting and supportive relationships are formed in these groups - one has even organized a monthly kitchen utensil 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 or health education.

LOCAL FIELD PARTNERS

We work through local field partners who are already closely involved with marginalized communities. This ensures your donation reaches the most needy as efficiently as possible.

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, on less that one US dollar a day. With an estimated population of 436,000, Kisumu has one of Kenya’s highest poverty levels and worst set of health indicators. Approximately 22-25% of the population is HIV positive.