March 30, 2012 was a day the residents of Kairi and its surrounding area had been waiting for. It was the day they ceased to be termed as financially excluded.
Kairi is located in the central highlands of Kenya, where residents have to travel 35km to Thika town to access financial services. One of the residents revealed that on several occasions he had spent sleepless nights since he feared that thieves would come and rob him of the money he had received after selling his chickens late one evening; he lacked enough words to express his joy on the opening of the facility.
Residents and visitors flocked in large numbers to witness the opening of the community ‘bank’.
The occasion was graced by the Most Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Gideon Githiga the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Thika.
The chair of the savings group informed the large audience of the need to convert the group to a community 'Bank’. She said that the group now had a membership of 528 with total savings of Kshs. 12 Million (£91,200).
While primarily a savings group, the value of loans distributed since the group started stood at Kshs. 22 Million (£167,200) while the active loan value stood at Kshs. 11 Million (£83,600).
Shares for Savers
Those who gathered were also informed that the community ‘Bank’ had floated Kshs. 10,000,000 shares to ensure community ownership. Each share was to cost Kshs. 100, with the first priority given to members of the Kairi Trust Group. They would own 51% of the shares while other investors like the Five Talents partner (Thika Community Development Trust) were to own 49%.
The secure facility is located in a building owned by St. Peter’s Church, Kairi, and is strategically located next to a local trading centre.
The District Commissioner accompanied by other government officials also attended the opening. He was very impressed with the development and thanked the Anglican Church for coming up with such an idea. “Gatundu North constituency will never be the same again” he said.
He also said that the opening of the facility would reduce insecurity in the area as the residents had found somewhere to keep their money safely. In addition they also had the opportunity to access loan facilities to develop themselves as most of them cannot qualify to get loans in the conventional Banks.
The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Thika who has been in the forefront in the support of microfinance activities within the Diocese said that microfinance in the Diocese is his brain child and gave a brief history of how it started when he attended a Micro Credit Development conference in Thailand.
The growth of microfinance has been overwhelming; he congratulated Kairi Trust Group for been the second group to convert to a community ‘Bank’. He was happy as the Church had been meeting both spiritual and physical needs of their clients and this was evident as parishes with microfinance groups had evidenced higher levels of giving.
The chief guest was the most Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala. He was full of praise and said that the community ‘bank’ had come at the right time to help the area community. He shared the story of Jesus feeding the four thousand and was impressed by the idea of the groups coming up with a common financial savings pot where every member could benefit.
Article from: Five Talents (pdf)