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Chicks and clicks: How a digital loan transformed a family business in Kenya

Imagine searching for a job for two years without finding one. That’s what faced Purity Kasivi Nzomo as she tried to find a way to support her young son. All the while, she had been raising a few chickens to feed her family. And that turned out to be her savior. 

Purity had watched another friend build up her own poultry business and finally give her family a better life. She hoped it would also be her path out of poverty—but the journey wasn’t easy. 
At first Purity struggled to get the money she needed to buy hatchlings. After four years, she was still earning just enough to make ends meet. Then another friend introduced her to Musoni Kenya, an all-digital local microfinance institution. First she borrowed $200 to expand her chicken house and to buy eggs to hatch. Selling the chicks earned her $100. Finally, the spark she needed. 

Purity’s second loan was a Kilimo Booster loan, a product specially designed by Musoni and Grameen Foundation for farmers. Its flexible repayment terms meant she could borrow the amount she needed, without having to repay the loan right away. 

”I was very happy when Musoni introduced the Kilimo Booster loan,” she said. “Before there was no grace period and you had to struggle to pay as it takes 5 to 6 months before [the hens] start producing eggs. Now I can get a grace period of up to six months.”

After receiving the loan, she could make her payments electronically, via mobile phone. 

Two years and four loans later, Purity earns $300-$400 per month. She is now married, lives in a bigger house and has moved her son from public to private school so that he can have a better future. 

Looking ahead, Purity said, “With enough capital I want to go big scale. I will increase the number of birds and acquire an incubator with a capacity to hatch 4,000-5,000 birds. I hope Musoni will be able to give me a big loan to expand.” 

With support from Feed the Future Partnering for Innovations, Grameen Foundation is now working with Musoni Kenya to make Kilimo Booster loans available across its 14 branches, so that more farmers like Purity can finally get a chance to build their business and improve their families’ lives. 

Funded by Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of Grameen Foundation and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States government, USAID, Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, or Fintrac Inc.