Microfinance; Qualitative Study; Kenya; Impact Studies; Financial Vulnerabilities


A qualitative study of Jamii Bora was undertaken in August 2007. Jamii Bora is a large, self-sustaining microfinance institution that was established in 1999 at the initiative of 50 street beggar families in Nairobi. It was registered as a charitable Trust in Kenya on 22 November 1999. In-depth interviews with 36 micro-entrepreneurs, all clients of Jamii Bora, reveal that access to microfinance has enabled them to start, expand, and develop their enterprises. Like many non-governmental organizations throughout East Africa, Jamii Bora is part of a regional (and global) movement to assist the poor. Where governments have retreated and markets have failed, microfinance institutions (MFIs) have primarily attempted to improve the lot of informal sector participants, particularly focusing on women. For those individuals that the formal education system has passed by in the developing world, particularly within East Africa, entrepreneurship is a legitimate avenue to enhance life choices. The assumption amongst most microfinance practitioners is the positive externality of access to microfinance so as to improve their quality of life through increased business opportunities

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