Self-help group of refugees from Kakuma recognised by the tony elumelu foundation entrepreneurship programme
Among the 3,050 entrepreneurs recently selected for the latest cycle of the Tony Elumelu entrepreneurship programme is Peter Diing Manyang, the Executive Director of a small self-help group of some twenty two refugees from Kakuma refugee camp, which has been lending small amounts of money to start-ups and small business in the camp. The self-help group was started early last year by some refugees from South Sudan and registered with the Ministry of East African Labour and Social protection as Wunda Youth Group. Based at Hong Kong market in Kakuma 1 refugee camp, the group provides short-term loans at competitive interest rates to business in the camp seeking financing to cover the daily expenses of running their business. The financing facility for the group was provided by the Kenya programme of Action Africa Help International through a Revolving Loan Fund set up to address lack of access to credit from formal finance institutions and limited provision of financial services to refugees at Kakuma camp.
“We heard about the call for applications for the 2019 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme via email from AAH-K and we applied”, Diing the Managing Director of the Wunda Youth Group recalls the decision that made him and the group achieve pan-african recognition beyond Kakuma camp, a refugee camp administered by UNHCR located on the outskirts of Kakuma town, which is the headquarters for Turkana West District of Turkana County in Kenya. Diing received primary and secondary education at the camp and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Kenyatta University, one of Kenya’s largest public higher education institution. He is a teacher by profession with good skill in chess demonstrated by leadership that enabled the university chess team win several competitions at the national level during his time as captain of the team while in campus. Leadership that he also applies to the group that he started with others early last year by pooling together individual contribution of 180,000 Kenya shillings to set up shop.
Wunda Youth Group received 200,000 shillings from the Revolving Loan Fund to scale up operations which they lent to some 20 small businesses in Kakuma 1 that met the requirements for short-term loaning. Group members received training on assessing creditworthiness at the start of their engagement with the facility from AAH-K, which they applied in the selection of loanees resulting in a well performing loan portfolio. Having succeeded with their first round of loanees they now plan to expand the business into other sections of the larger Kakuma camp using the 5,000 dollar grant they’ll receive from the TEF programme. Through the Revolving Loan Fund members of the group were also trained on business and financial management skills as well as mentorship on running business successfully, setting them up for more success.
The Revolving Loans Fund is part of the Kakuma Refugee Assistance Programme (KRAP) funded by UNHCR and implemented by AAH Kenya, focusing on enhancing reliant livelihoods of some 3000 individuals based at Kakuma refugee camp and Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement in order to boost self-reliance and sustainable livelihoods. The programme achieves this though skill enhancement, employment opportunities and enterprise development. Specifically, loan disbursements for business start-ups, agribusiness training and linkages to market access as well as mentoring and coaching of upcoming business entrepreneurs with successful business owners. The project is aligned to SDG number 2 which supports interventions in food and incomes security targeting the most vulnerable individuals and groups.