Kwale,KENYA:Villagers in Kwale county have been empowered economically and financially, through the formation of what a Village Bank dabbed Kaya Kinondo village bank, where they can save and borrow money. This unique and one of its kind institution in Kenya has also been made a success through the technical support of the World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) – Kwale.
Kinondo village bank which is now known as Kaya Kinondo Financial Association which started in 2003, has no automated teller machines but enables villagers to deposit and withdraw money by visiting the ban premises.
Ms. Mwanasha Kwenza, an officer from the village bank, said that customers of the bank are able to access loans from sh 5,000 to a limit of sh. 600,000 with a 12% interest rate.
“We started with 200 members but as per now we have 2,603 members who are investing their money into the bank.” She said.
Rebbeca Runya an officer from World Wide Fund for nature in Kwale said that they are still empowering the members by on the importance of saving money and also the need to conserve the environment.
“They were community members who came together to conserve the Kaya Kinondo forest and through these, we saw the need of empowering them to start the village bank so that they can be able to save their money and also to empower each other financially. We have been able to give them technical support and trainings in both financial investment and also to conserve their environment”. Said, Ms. Runya.
For Kassim Kiwaka, is a farmer and beneficiary of the bank who relied on loans for farming activities, the bank has been of great help to him and other community members.
“Since I joined the village bank i have received six loans, and this has really helped me expand my farming activities and also I have been able to increase the number of cattle in my farm. Am now planning to borrow more from the bank so as to invest in irrigation practice in my farm”. He said.
The bank has now started receiving new clients such as Kwale county government and an international company in Kwale county.