Between cost of burials, health care, festivals and social obligations, sending money to families at home, and other seemingly urgent costs, there is hardly any money left to use for improved sanitation leave alone a working micro enterprise working capital.
In Kenya, millions of people are living without access to financial services such as loans, saving accounts, insurance and fund transfers. The micro-finance institutions have come as a savior but are they really? when they are all about profit? Yes micro-finance is inevitable to start any enterprise by the poorer. Micro finance is a good example of social business and social business funds could be available for micro-finance activity. This must have been what Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, had seen in Bangladesh long before the UN declared 2005 the UN International year of Micro-finance and he got the Nobel Peace Award.
This is clearly demonstrated in Nakuru Kenya by Waste Venture Fund offered by the Family bank that is offering affordable soft loans to solid waste management and sanitation businesses. With the implementing partners Practical Action, the bank through the financial support from WASTE- Netherlands is doing what no landlord or solid waste management businesses owners could imagine.
One of the most powerful service of micro finance is the micro credit. This has transformed a lot of business minded people’s lives but only if business and the business proceeds they venture in can help pay back the loans and offer livelihoods for the entrepreneurs.
This also means that they stay the banks clients and it becomes a win-win situation because they can then use other services such as savings and insurance that can help the clients better manage the risks associated with being in business.
Micro credit is not only the ingredient to alleviating poverty as capacity on how to manage the finances and become sustainable is also crucial.
Today, the world bank estimates that about 160 million people in developing countries are served by micro finance but just how many of these people invest in sanitation and solid waste ventures is even a more alarming question.