Community microfinance plays a major role in building peace in communities where GRG works. Each GRG group has established village microfinance projects – locally called boli cup (pronounced bol lee chup). These microfinance groups provide a vital ‘glue’ to group work, as members meet every week to save, plan their future activities and chat about village news. They also provide the means for individuals to transform themselves into entrepreneurs or to send their children to school.
GRG provides the group members with microfinance training and group materials such as lockable savings boxes, group and individual record books. The groups learn how to lend, borrow, and repay money, as well as to how to keep the accounts. These savings groups provide members with a safe and convenient place to save money in remote places where there is no access to banks as well as access to capital to start or grow small-scale businesses or for payment of school fees. As savings grow in the boli cup, we’ve seen interest to learn more about entrepreneurship, improve math skills and reading and writing grow. Microfinance is one of the critical areas to encourage and inspire our groups for further skills building and creativity.
In 2014 through GRG’s boli cup program, groups saved on average 7,000,000 shillings (roughly $2,450.00). Parents sent over 200 children to school using the money in their group boli cup account. Over 250 members started new businesses or expanded an existing one in 2014 using loans from the group. With each new annual cycle we are seeing savings and re-paid loans increase in size.