The Microfinance program was founded in 2000 when our first group of 12 women, called the Rwanchege Hopecore Pioneers, received their loans of 30,000 Kenya Shillings (about $350). While microloan distribution makes up the majority of our funding and activities, we do not consider ourselves a microfinance institution, but a poverty reduction and development organization. Our goal is to eradicate poverty in Kenya, and microfinance is one of the strategies we have selected to achieve that goal.
Since beginning the microfinance program in 2000, VHI has provided loans to 71 groups, which means that loans have reached 749 households or 2,247 individuals. Among these groups 75% of members are women, 10% are HIV/AIDS positive and the average number of dependents in each household is 3. Data collection on impact of microloans began in 2006 and 8 groups have since completed their two year loan repayment process. From these eight groups (90 households), we have seen a 35% reduction in poverty. The average monthly income prior to receiving the loan was $38.88 and after the loan repayment process (two years later) it was $117.46. Prior to the loan, 43% of households were living below the poverty line ($1.50/day) and after the loan cycle only 8% of households were living below the poverty line.