Business skills

If I had got into the farming group years earlier, I would be a millionaire by now with the knowledge I have!

A bumper crop yield is of little use if a farmer doesn’t get the right amount of money for it. Post-harvest training includes the basics of taking products to market: how to make your produce look attractive, when and where to sell, and the advantages of storing stock when prices are low, and selling when they are high.
In addition to this basic training, each Farming Group elects two leaders; these leaders join church leaders at Kira Farm Development Centre where they learn about savings, financial management, marketing, risk management and credit management. They take this learning back to their communities and share their knowledge with others.

Through this tailored approach, farmers learn to value themselves, their crops, and their potential. All will have enough to eat, and most will be able to save money.

Revolving loans

Amigos is about giving a hand up – not a handout. This is why we offer our farming groups access to twelve month revolving loans for items such as bikes and solar packs. As these funds revolve from farmer to farmer, and from village to village whole communities gradually gain the items they want to bring about real and lasting change. 

Bikes made at Kira Farm Development centre are sold to farmers; Kira Farm trainees are also taught how to maintain and repair the bikes, too, so that when they graduate, they can fix the bikes in their community. Bikes enable farmers to get around quicker and more effectively. They make everything easier: getting to school, the market or the doctors, transporting crops, collecting water. Ultimately, bikes mean improved income, health and happiness.

Solar power packs enable children to study after dark. In a country where there are just twelve precious hours of light a day, by the time household chores are done, there is no light left to read, learn or spend family time. Solar power improves health by eliminating the need for poisonous and dangerous kerosene lamps, improve safety for children visiting the latrines at night, and allows families to spend time together after dark. What’s more, with access to a solar-powered radio, farmers can find out the going rates for crops, which will help them to get the best possible price.

Borehole savings – one side effect of borehole installation is the establishment of community-based savings schemes run by community borehole committees. Each household pays 25p a month for water drawn from the borehole. This fund is used for any future repairs, enabling a borehole to be sustainable.The by-product of the repair fund allows the community to set up their own microfinance loan scheme, as there will be no repairs needed in the first few years. As the repair pot grows, members of the community can apply for small business loans from the borehole repair pot. Interest on repayments allows the pot to grow. Members of the community can pay in more than 25p a month if they wish, allowing the village to have a little savings bank right at the heart of their own community. 

Business skills, revolving loans and microfinance loan schemes offer communities the boost that they need to thrive. As their small businesses grow and succeed, families earn enough to send their children to school, access healthcare and build up savings to protect against unexpected shocks, such as drought.

With financial freedom rural communities are able to make choices and determine their own futures.

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