Since 2009 SGG has been providing microcredit for various community groups in Busia County who wish to implement an income generation scheme. The basic system for table-banking is that the group decides its own income generation activity [IGA] for the following year and then raises 70% of the required budget themselves. The scheme is then proposed to SGG and discussed. When agreement is reached SGG provides the remaining 30% as a grant. If the group wish to repeat the process the following year they are required to produce a report on the outcome of the previous table-banking agreement. Typical schemes have included: poultry rearing, cereal trading, indigenous vegetables, pig-breeding, tree-planting and growing bananas.
Recently the more successful groups have used table-banking funds to start their own Voluntary Savings and Loans [VSL] schemes. This system allows members of the group to borrow money from their pool of funds but interest must be paid on a monthly basis. The great advantage of this is that credit is available to members every month and the arrangements are entirely organised by the group without SGG involvement. VSL schemes have proved particularly useful where funds are being used for individual small business enterprises.
Table-banking has been SGG's most popular and successful project over the last 10 years. This microcredit scheme inspires intense discussion among farmers about how best to use this opportunity for advancement. A few table-banking schemes have failed to generate extra income, but in general we expect the group concerned to achieve at least 30% value added to the initial investment. Upendo Women's Group table-banking report for 2018 illustrates how profits can often be well above that 30% threshold. Click here to read full report
This is Siritanyi Community Group in April 2018 ready to discuss their table-banking plans with SGG . At this meeting it was decided that the available funds would be divided so that each of the 12 members would receive Ksh 4,000/- for their own small business enterprise. Several of these Siritanyi members gained additionall income from trading: 4 practised cereal-trading, 2 bought and sold fish, and 4 members traded with groundnuts. There was also some investment in vegetable production, which requires more intensive use of labour but also higher profits.
Part of the table-banking process is that the Kenya community group decides which income generation scheme they wish to implement. This is the participatory approach in action! Thus, there are a wide range of small schemes supported.
Thus, simple livestock-keeping eg.Leonida Owuor of Upendo-Buloma with 3 pigs is a more typical scheme. [See right]
Children & guardians at Lonely Orphans, Matayos [See left] wait in hope to see if their proposals to improve their school buildings will be accepted by SGG. The adults are aware that SGG does not usually invest in construction work because it is costly. More important is that it consumes our limited capital rather than creates new capital.
Since 2014 SGG has promoted tree-planting within the Maendeleo Mashinani community groups. The Treedom project resulted in the planting of 32,070 trees on the land of about 350 local farmers. The OPTIONS project focussed on the planting of natural pesticides, such as Tephrosia vogelii & Tithonia diversifola. An SGG-Rotary project added another 7,740 to the stock of trees in Busia County. During this 5 year period when many farmers used agroforestry methods on their plots, others realised that establishment of a small tree nursery offered an opportunity for income generation. Judith Khamaya is a volunteer teacher at Lonely Orphans in Matayos. She has started a nursery with the aid of table-banking funds [see left] to supplement her limited income.
Before 2013 there were usually 30-40 community groups which participated in these income generation schemes. [For a detailed report of these early years of table-banking in the 2009-2011 period Click here. ] The number of groups was largely limited by available funds for investment.
Thanks to an individual generous sponsorship table-banking programme became more active from October 2013 to September 2014.
We were able to invest an additional £4,981 for table-banking within the 10 orphans groups of MMO after September 2013. This was called the Special Orphans' Programme. As a consequence SGG was able to facilitate the implementation of 103 small-scale schemes with a total investment of £10,001.06p, which gained income for about 600 orphans and their guardian households as well as the MMO 40 community groups who continued their normal practice of table-banking. For the Special Orphans' Project report dated May 2014 Click here. During this period SGG came to view this table-banking approach as one of the most effective types of development project, and a development strategy which could be readily replicated elsewhere in rural Africa. For the Special Orphans' Project final report Click here.
In September 2014 the Special Orphans Project sponsorship ended. This happened at a time when the demands on SGG time and resources required by the OPTIONs and Treedom projects greatly increased. As a result of those new projects coming on stream SGG had very limited time in the UK to search for new sponsors. Table-banking continued but with funds never being enough to meet demands. The situation now is again different: the OPTIONs project finished in 2017, and the Treedom contract will expire in 2019.
We are now actively looking for capital to invest in this project as table-banking has proved to be such a success. Our past experience in this project shows that a contribution of as little as £50 can be sufficient to implement a small but viable, sustainable development project.