Just Small Change

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

   

‘The most appropriate and fundamental solutions to poverty will be those that enable people to take control of their own lives.’

Economic Justice for All, US Catholic Bishops (1986)

Just Small Change is a Registered Charity.

 

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OUR VISION

is to enable the very poor to build a pathway out of poverty through small business development.

We believe that with training and support, microcredit can unlock the personal and economic potential of the poorest communities, offering the opportunity to achieve a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose.

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

 

WHERE WE WORK

KENYA

Kenya has rich resources in the energy, talents and aspirations of its population. The economy is growing, with improvements in average income and life expectancy. But despite a decline in the poverty rate to 36 per cent in 2015-2016, poverty and exclusion persist in many parts of the country.

Women are particularly disavantaged, suffering from unequal access to employment, land and credit.  This is made worse by a higher disease burden for women, particularly HIV/AIDS. In 2015, the Gender Inequality Index ranked Kenya 135 of 159 countries.

For these reasons, we focus on working mainly with women, many of whom suffer from HIV/AIDS.  Business training and micro credit enable our clients to use their talents to build sustainable livelihoods.

MALI

This year Just Small Change will start supporting a microcredit project in South Mali, where many years of intensive cotton production have impoverished both the land and the people.  Large amounts of pesticides and fertilisers are needed to grow cotton.  People have become indebted to cotton companies for the chemicals they lend, which have to be repaid after the cotton harvest.  Although this is a productive area of Mali, having more rainfall, it has become the poorest and most malnourished region as cotton prices have fallen and cotton companies make money out of loans.   Families can earn as little as £130 a year which is not enough to survive. The fertilisers have made the land very poor and unproductive and the pesticides have poisoned the livestock and human population as they get into the water supply and pasture. 

Many wish to return to food production instead of growing cotton.  They are trying to improve their land through ecological methods such as compost-making and re-introducing old-fashioned seed varieties that are better able to withstand irregular weather patterns.  But very few people have livestock; these are needed to help to fertilise the soil because their droppings accelerate compost production, and also because they create an income for very poor women.

To help meet this need, the microcredit project helps very poor women to raise goats. Goats provide milk for consumption and sale for a longer period than cows, improving livelihoods, and the young goats can be sold to raise money when times are tough. Each client is loaned funds for two years and uses this to buy two female goats. If a goat is well-kept and has good forage (project staff provide support and training for this) it can give birth to one or two kids every 6 months.  By selling some of these, each client can repay her loan at the end of the 2 years and keep all the surplus goats. The repaid loans are then recycled to lend to another woman.

Just Small Change is starting work in two villages in South Mali, and is looking forward to extending this work in the coming years.

 

 

 

 

 

 OUR PATRON

Bishop Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough, is our Patron. Bishop Drainey spent six years working in Kisumu, Kenya, where our project is based, and fully understands the challenges faced by the people there. Here is his comment on Just Small Change:

'Here is an organisation which can help at grassroots level and which can turn one’s kind and good intentions into concrete and practical reality...I encourage you to support Just Small Change in whatever way you can, because with the help of this organisation, you can make such a difference.'

You can read the rest of his message here

As well as being a patron of Just Small Change, and Bishop of Middlesbrough, Bishop Drainey is the Chair of Caritas Social Action Network which develops the Catholic Church’s social action in England and Wales.

 

Facts and Figures

FACTS AND FIGURES

Since start up in April 2011, Just Small Change has provided funding of £84,959 to our local partners (as at end 2019). No deductions are made for admin or fundraising costs, so 100% of your gift, plus any gift aid received, goes directly to our project in Kenya.

Just Small Change is a registered charity, no. 1154462, established as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

There are four trustees:
Gerard Adams, Jane Donaghue, Peter Donaghue & Andrew Maher.

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