In 2016 FSD Kenya branched outside our core financial inclusion remit to embark on a new pilot in Marsabit county where we sought to develop a more holistic approach to economic inclusion. The ambition was to deepen the value of finance in people’s lives, moving beyond financial access and use and investing in building capabilities and market linkages to enable finance to yield stronger impacts on livelihood resilience and growth. Our aim was to reach the extreme poor and especially women, who are not well served by the financial sector.
This research seeks to unearth the financial needs and demands of urban female retail traders in Kenya by exploring how their financial needs are being met, through which instruments, and in turn, where the opportunities lie to drive improved or increased access to financial products.
The building livelihoods programme is a modified financial graduation project that emphasises market-based programme components to increase cost-effectiveness and potential for scale. The aim of the programme is to help those living in extreme poverty build sustainable livelihoods through business to enable them to live above the ‘survival threshold’, whereby households can meet basic food needs without external assistance (Fitzgibbon & Cabot Venton, 2014).
This week is financial inclusion week, a good moment to take stock of the multibillion dollar ‘fortune at the bottom of the pyramid’ that has been so successfully reaped by the financial inclusion industry.
After three months of Covid-19 restrictions, Jennifer’s economic options have run out. She is five months pregnant, and the baby’s father has blocked her calls. She hasn’t been able to pay rent in three months and worries that she and her children are on the verge of eviction.
Natasha is a young woman who has a cake baking business on the outskirts of Nairobi. She has a bank account for her business which she uses intensively. Natasha’s business was doing well and she needed a loan to expand.
Up until now studies concerning mobile money and financial inclusion have focused largely on aggregate adoption rates and usage trends. Few have shed light on the ways in which women, men and young adults (men and women ages 18-25), use mobile money differently.