It's been nine months since my last post. I really miss writing on my blog, but kept delaying to do so. I was reading old posts and realized that I made so many promises I did not fulfill. This time, I would like to fulfill my promise from my previous post. I am going to talk about my work in Kenya.
My team and I were assigned to work at a consultancy project for Juhudi Kilimo, a micro-asset financing institution that serves smallholder farmers in Kenya. It is similar to microfinance, but instead of providing loans for creating a business, Juhudi provides loans for purchasing assets, such as dairy cows and poultry. I have always been a big fan of microfinance and Muhammad Yunus. I was very inspired by one of Yunus' books and when I found out that I was going to work with Juhudi, I became really excited.
During my three weeks in Kenya, my team and I got the chance to visit Juhudi's field offices in rural Kenya and attend client meetings. We got to learn about how microfinance is conducted on the grassroots level and analyze what kind of improvements that can be done. Juhudi's clients, who were mostly farmers, were very committed. They routinely came to group meetings and paid back their loans according to schedule. They also conducted their meetings in a very effective and efficient manner. This is a video of one of the meetings we attended:
This is a picture with Juhudi's clients after the meeting:
It was a heartwarming experience to hear from the clients about how Juhudi changed their lives: how they now have enough money to send their kids to school, employ their neighbors, and be productive.
Aside from work, we also got to visit Kibera, one of the biggest slums in East Africa. We met people from the youth groups and learned about the entrepreneurial ventures that these youth groups initiated. The businesses were waste management, car wash, sanitation services, and handicraft. I got the chance to visit the sanitation service business that was managed by the Toy Youth Group. Here is the video:
My trip to Kenya is definitely the highlight of being in Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Unlike many other schools who go abroad only for meetings and vacation, my classmates and I were given a real project to work on and have firsthand experience on how to do business in different cultures. It was awesome.
Check out my other blog to know about my fascination towards microfinance and financial inclusion.