The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses around the world – the effects have been especially devastating for vulnerable communities. And yet, BOMA’s women entrepreneurs in Northern Kenya are showing incredible resilience in navigating the economic aftershocks of the pandemic.  According to recent data for the month of June, BOMA’s women entrepreneurs showed a 7% growth in sales and 3% growth in profits as compared to the prior month.

Bety Lesiamito, BOMA Market Linkages Officer

Bety Lesiamito, BOMA Market Linkages Officer

BOMA’s market linkages team plays a big role in helping women stay resilient to shocks like COVID-19. Bety Lesiamoto, BOMA’s Market Linkages Officer, says she helps BOMA’s women entrepreneurs stay resilient in four key ways:

  • Market linkages: Connect BOMA’s entrepreneurs to wholesalers and traders where they are able to acquire goods for lower prices. This is especially valuable for women entrepreneurs who run convenience stores.
  • Financial linkages: Connect BOMA’s women entrepreneurs to banks and other financial institutions. This allows them to open savings accounts and apply for loans.
  • Capacity building: Provide training to large groups on how to run businesses at scale.
  • Market assessments: Conduct rapid surveys to understand what BOMA’s women entrepreneurs need to grow their business.

Recently, Bety connected two BOMA savings groups to the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Project (NARIGP) – a project funded by the Government of Kenya and World Bank.  The women entrepreneurs were able to acquire materials of Ksh 500,000 each ($461.1 USD). One group used the money to construct a shed and open a chicken-rearing business, while the other used the grant to start a business fattening and selling goats.

Members of a BOMA savings group standing next to the poultry farm they conducted for their new business

Members of a BOMA savings group standing next to the poultry farm they constructed for their new business

Before joining BOMA’s poverty graduation program, our women participants lived in extreme poverty. After graduating from BOMA’s program, these  women entrepreneurs are navigating COVID-19 by taking advantage of opportunities that they would never have been aware of — if it hadn’t been for BOMA’s market linkages team.