Kenyan Senator Naisula Lesuuda visits Group Savings and Loans Project in Embu

    Senator Naisula Lesuuda briefed by CARE Kenya's Nelly Otieno, GSL Program Manager/CARE Kenya 2013/Reshma Khan

    CARE Kenya recently had the pleasure of hosting first-time Senator, Naisula Lesuuda, at our Group Savings and Loans Banking on Change project in Embu. Senator Lesuuda has also been invited by CARE Germany to attend a conference in Bonn in June 2013, with the theme of  ' The Future of Growth, Economic Values and the Media', where she will be a moderator for a CARE-led workshop on how womens' access to savings and loans can foster economic growth and development.More information about the conference can be found at

    Naisula Lesuuda became the youngest serving Kenyan Senator in 2013. She represents the Samburu County, and has also been elected as the Vice-Chairlady of the Kenyan Women's Parliamentary Association.


    Her journalistic credentials include the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) where she worked as a news anchor, reporter and host of Good Morning Kenya. She is a founding member of the Peace Caravan, an initiative to advocate peace throughout her country by collecting and broadcasting peace-related news, lobbying and visiting conflicting communities. Lesuuda runs a media consultancy firm and works as a trainer and workshop facilitator. In 2010 she was awarded the Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya, for her work in peace promotion and journalism and in 2011, she received the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Wedge Award for Outstanding Professional Women.

    A GSL group in Embu meets for their transactions/CARE Kenya 2013/Reshma Khan

    In sub-Saharan Africa the vast majority of the poor lack access to even the most basic financial services.  Out of an economically active population of more than 300 million, only about 20 million people have access to financial services in any form. To address this, in 1991, CARE International in Niger developed and implemented Mata Masu Dubara (MMD)[1], a self-managed system of the purest form of financial intermediation. Based solely on member savings and small, self-managed groups, MMD are now a membership-based program servicing approximately 192,000 rural women in one of the poorest countries in Africa.  These women have collectively amassed more than $14 million in savings.  In 1999, CARE started to promote the MMD Program?s Village Saving and Loan (VS&L) methodology outside of Niger, and today programs are operating in 26 countries in Africa alone, having reached over 2.5million people. In Kenya alone, the Group Savings and Loans program has helped over 600,000 individuals.

    The oldest and the youngest all participate in GSL/CARE Kenya 2013/Reshma Khan

    The approach promotes saving first and credit/loans second. GS&L also functions as a business incubator by linking, informing, sharing information and linking the more cautious or inexperienced participants with peers within the group who are experienced micro-entrepreneurs operating in the same environment, with the same constraints. The program targets both potential and existing micro entrepreneurs. These are the poorer sections of the economically active populations in rural areas, who cannot access credit easily from commercial banks and the conventional micro financial Institutions. CARE implements GS&L projects in five Provinces: Nyanza, Western, Nairobi, Eastern and North Eastern, and includes Nairobi?s Kibera slums of Nairobi. 

    Started in October 2009, the Banking on Change project aims to reduce poverty and enhance income and livelihoods security for households in seven rural and peri-urban districts of Kenya, all in Nyanza and Eastern provinces. These are in Embu East, Embu North, Embu West, Mbeere North and South districts. In Nyanza the project is implemented in Homa Bay, Ndhiwa, Kisumu West and Kisumu North districts. The project improves livelihoods through sustained access to community-based financial services. The project?s objectives are to create 4,154 GS&L groups (comprising 98,060 clients) through training and monitoring of 70 Village agents/Community based trainers, to pilot linkages between progressive GS&L groups and formal banks, to enable poor and vulnerable households access financial services from GS&L groups, and to build the capacity of 14,709 GS&L members in enterprise development through provision of business management skills. BOC is undertaken through local partners; key agencies partnering with the project are Barclays Bank in Kenya, local/ provincial administration and a number of line ministries, Faith Based Organizations, Civil Society Organizations.


    [1] Translation from Hausa: Women on the Move


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