Project Start Date: 24.10.13: Project End Date: 30.4.17
Current beneficiaries : direct ; 9204, indirect ; 36,816
The Link Up Project is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for 3 1/2 years. This follows a successful innovative pilot that was carried out in 2012 in Bondo and Suba districts in the western region. Its main objective is linking Group Savings and Loan groups to formal financial service providers in order to bridge the gap between member needs for financial services and capacity of a Group Savings and Loan Associations to meet those needs, both in terms of security of the funds and capacity to borrow funds to build businesses. It will also provide financial education to all the linked GS&L groups.
One of the key barriers to financial inclusion is the distance of community from the financial institution. The project will therefore try and find innovative solutions to address this barrier. Some of the potential solutions will be the use mobile technology and bank agents within the communities where GS&L groups exist. Currently the sites targeted include Bondo, Suba, Kisumu West, Vihiga, Nyamira and Marsabit counties.
Link Up project is run in two phases, the first which is the planning phase running from November 2013 to June 2014 and the second phase which is the implementation phase picking from July 2014 to April 2017. During the planning phase, a few deliverables were expected including the Business model/case, results framework reviewed by steering committee, clear process of learning shared with tools and budget reviewed based on the key deliverables of the project, review of the Bank products for the GS&L groups including developing new ones that had not been done in the pilot like the credit product, development linkage training modules, staffing and general preparation of the groups towards linkage process.
The implementation phase involves:
- Authenticating of the business model for financial services providers to interact with GS&L groups commercially.
- Assessments of GS&L groups and identifying GS&L groups for linkages
- Capacity building of GS&L groups on linkages
- Capacity building of CARE?s staffs on integrated Financial Education and linkages
- Capacity building and sensitization of Equity Bank?s staffs and technology providers on GS&L groups
- Product and process development for delivering financial services
- Identifying relevant platforms for enabling financial transactions ? mobile technology, agent banking
- Pilot testing of credit product before roll-outs
- Capacity building of local institutions/trainers in integrated Financial Education with linkages and wide scale roll-out of linkages
- Monitoring and Evaluation of the Link Up project