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Financial Literacy Rural Women Empowerment Project

Financial literacy is the ability to earn money, invest it wisely, and manage it. For a long time, women didn’t hold jobs or have investments but in the recent past, their participation in the economy has been increasing. While there are still wide gaps in the earnings of women, and their ability to grow wealth and sustain them, there is an increase in their desire to learn and change this narrative.

A study by in 2021 found that women answered questions on financial literacy disproportionately, but could choose the right answer when the question was removed. This is evidence that women are still not as confident about finances. This alludes to the fact that the money factor has always been a men-dominated area and is still relatively foreign to women.

According to a study by Financial Access, 70 % of Kenyan women do not participate in financial decisions within their homes because they are not financially literate. Gratefully, here at RTSEF, We are being part of the change, especially at the grassroots where women are often overlooked on the financial literacy front.

Our Project

Our financial literacy project started in 2023 intending to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of lives of women. We believe that financial freedom is key to leading a dignified life. Finances are tied to the quality of food, education, healthcare, and overall life. We set base in Siaya, Migori, Homabay, and Kisumu counties. We are proud to be benefitting 100 parents and guardians of the scholarship program, hence the men in the program, and young women who had dropped out of school due to various life challenges, most of them financial. To ensure that our program had a lasting impact, we initiated a three-phase training.

Training of trainers: the trainers underwent training workshops offered by Street Business School, a global training organization that empowers people to become self-sustained business owners and successful entrepreneurs. The trainers were educated on the tenets of setting up and running a successful business and important financial decisions a business owner had to make to ensure flow of income, while also saving.

Training of trainees/participants: the trainers then disseminated the business training that they were taught from the business school. This training took 3 months and participants were issued with certificates as an indication of completion of the training, and proof that they were competent to establish a business, and use the skills to sustain them. We then had a coaching visit, seeing the participants at their places of business and home areas to see if they implemented the lessons they had learned.

Loaning phase: while it is important to emphasize entrepreneurship, it is also important to understand that initial capital for a lot of these women is a challenge.

The Outcome of this Project for Our Participants

The goal of all this is to see to it that our participants emerge with information and the tools they need to run a successful business. As such, we were excited to get feedback, to assess whether our initiative was planting the seeds of entrepreneurship. The aim of the training was also to see to it that the participants weren’t only making day-to-day money but were able to save and invest long-term, for a much easier future.

Michael, a participant from Homabay, is a shop attendant who believes that the training opened his eyes and gave him a whole new outlook on his business. He learned that he had not been keen on simple business management accounting basics and wanted to change how he ran his business.

John Omondi has been a tailor in Homabay for sixteen years. His take home insights were record keeping and financial management which have been crucial to his business.

Millicent Adoyo from Kisumu is a widow. She started her second-hand clothes business immediately after the training. She said the training gave her the confidence and the skills to start and run her business successfully

Dorothy from Siaya was an employee, working in a salon. However, after the training, she realized she had more vast opportunities than she had thought and now runs her own salon, implementing the skills and lessons she acquired to ensure she offers more value to her customers.

Paul from Kisumu has been knitting vehicle seats for 19 years. He realized that there were some business practices he hadn’t taken seriously until he attended the training.

Our Partnership with Rafiki Microfinance

To solve that problem of initial and subsequent capital, we are engaging to help in administering the loans required by the participants to ensure their smooth business running. Small businesses are important to communities with low income as they ensure that the people can afford the basic necessities of life. By starting this project and seeing it through, we hope that people in the rural areas will be more self-sufficient. Additionally, many women work in the informal sector and have no access to banks, loan services, retirement planning information and general financial information that is key to leading a good life.

Our project aims to change that, one woman at a time. by targeting low-income women and women in the rural areas, we not only bring the financial literacy but also access to loans so that they are able to sustain their businesses.

Our organization must train and equip the participants before the savings groups open an account with Rafiki Microfinance Bank. Savings groups have 5-30 members in which each member saves for their own goal. The group decides if loans can be provided from the savings fund and the amount loaned is determined by the amount an individual has saved up. The groups are required to save for a minimum of three months before they can start borrowing or loaning money amongst themselves. This is a guarantee that the individual has developed a savings habit, and has enough money with the group, to value the money invested in them.

If an individual needs to borrow more than the members of the group can loan, the Microfinance steps in, with guarantee from us and harnessed social capital within the group.

This model ensures collective responsibility, financial discipline, which we understand is difficult for a lot of people, and purpose and motivation towards achieving a financial goal.


The longevity of any business is dependent on good practices. Some of our participants have been in business for a long time but without seeing any substantial benefits. However, our partnership with Rafiki Microfinance will give them a place to save, borrow from, and invest. Additionally, the financial literacy skills coupled with the business management skills will in the long run, see to it that they reap the benefits of their investment.

We started this initiative after seeing the dire situations of the families whose children were on scholarship with the RTSEF program. While helping the children get education is important, it is also important to elevate the families they come from so that they can sustain themselves and take care of other needs they might have. This is answers to our quest for a holistic scholarship awarding approach.

Our goal is to continue the trainings, reaching as many women as possible even those whose children are not in the scholarship programme. This way, we can create a more self-sustaining community, alleviate poverty, and encourage self-reliance even for people that feel like they have no way out.


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