It is difficult to believe that only 18 months have passed since the inception and introduction of the micro enterprise development to the Kianda district of Kibera. The mere mention of the possibility of manageable short term loans to the shadows that the banks would never entertain, produced an avalanche of interest; not all of it positive. Misunderstandings over loan size, personal responsibility and transparity of the process can be rapidly confused with the everyday Shylock charlatans and the accepted informal inducements that uncomfortably lubricate the already shaky economy.
Local ownership of the day to day running of the project by some of the more established businesses entrepreneurs is essential, as is advice, support and regular site visits. The pride and sense of empowering is overwhelming; the ability to be able to provide for the basic needs of dependants is priceless. To date over 30 new micro businesses are successfully running with a good number repaying their original loan and seeking a further tranche to expand a little more.
The unpredictably of Kibera life creates the inevitable casualties and defaulters that are remarkably few in number. The decision to fund an unexpected funeral or pay up?