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).
When we spoke with Benson in April, he was feeling optimistic about getting through the COVID-19 crisis unscathed. He worked in a factory that manufactured paper products, and toilet tissue was in high demand. He was sure he would keep his job. In June, like many of our respondents, his outlook was gloomier.
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.
Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, FSD Kenya and BFA Global have been working to understand the human impacts—social, financial, and economic—by conducting qualitative phone interviews with previous respondents from the Kenya Financial Diaries.
In order to understand the take‐up, use, and impacts of M‐PESA in Kenya, US based Principal Investigators William Jack (Georgetown) and Tavneet Suri (MIT Sloan School of Management) conducted a set of five surveys across Kenya, starting in yearly between 2008 and 2011, with a fifth survey conducted in 2014 to look at the longer-term impacts of M-PESA.