Across Africa, business leaders increasingly point to the importance of attracting and retaining top talent to compete and win in the marketplace. In Kenya especially, organizations struggle to recruit efficiently and effectively when they post a job online, they are often inundated with a high volume of applications from mostly low-quality candidates, and picking candidates feels like a subjective process prone to bias and inconsistency.
FSD Kenya and CARE Kenya jointly designed a project for implementation in Laisamis, Marsabit county, applying the graduation approach. The objective of the project is to test use of market based approaches to building the livelihoods of poor households.
Pauline Kimari is a pharmacist in Ndaragwa, Kenya, a small town several hours’ drive north of Nairobi. She moved there from rural Muranga, several hours away, to open a small shop, Ndaragwa Joy Chemist. It is white with blue and green doors and a blue bench inside. She sells medicine and cosmetics.
Market facilitation can (and does) work
Kenya is a good place to start when considering market facilitation. It is the poster child of financial inclusion, with access to formal finance growing dramatically from 27 percent in 2006 to 75 percent in 2016.
In an effort to understand the real needs of the people, our seventh ‘Field Friday’ exercise took us to Karagita in Naivasha. We set out to gather insights on which financial services people use and which ones they trust most.
Our work on the Kenya Financial Diaries made it painfully clear to us that school fees are incredibly expensive for low income families. The lowest end public schools often ask about KSh 20,000 per year for a single student, when rural household incomes often average around KSh 6,000 per month.
I spent a week in Kenya, courtesy of Financial Sector Deepening, an initiative of a number of aid agencies, including Britain’s Department for International Development, the Swedish government, and the Gates Foundation.
Last year, I sat huddled with Esther in the back of her dark market stall. The walls were lined floor to ceiling with second hand bras for sale, leaving only a small space for us to sit and chat. Esther was coming through a rough few years. Her husband unexpectedly and quickly died from meningitis.
During his visit for the FSD Kenya 3rd annual lecture, John Kay visited Haki Group, a Self Help Group registered in 2002 but graduated to a Community Based Organization in 2005 to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS in Kibera.
Over the past 10 years, FSD Kenya has worked to support the development of financial inclusion in Kenya. In 2015, we launched a series of annual public lectures on financial inclusion. Our aim is to stimulate debate on this subject and its place in the long-term vision for the financial sector in Kenya.
Just what is finance for?
On Wednesday 8th February 2017, John Kay met with 18 financial sector industry leaders to discuss this question and the future of finance in Kenya.
As we trudged through Kivani Secondary School’s third term student attendance records, one absenteeism after another greeted us. Per our analysis in preparation for Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with selected parents and guardians at the school, the average student missed about 13% of class time. I didn’t give it much thought then.
Rafe Mazer was the speaker at the 2nd FSD Kenya annual lecture on financial inclusion. His presentation shared how we can develop our own “test and learn” – the way in which financial service providers and regulators collaborate to allow for new solutions – for consumer protection.
This year, the price of a kilo of tea reached a five-year high. Every October, tea farmers in Kenya receive a “tea bonus”; the second lump sum payment for tea delivered to the Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) during the year. The first lump sum, the “mini bonus”, is paid each April.
Self-employment is a major source of income for low income Kenyans, and Financial Diaries respondents are no exception. When we talked to respondents in 2015, two years after the close of the original Diaries, those whose economic lives were improving pointed to business returns as one of the main drivers of their success.