Posted by: KENASVIT | April 15, 2011

Government Statement on MSE Fund

In an effort to address queries regarding the recent release of the MSE Fund for Financial Inclusion of the Informal Sector, The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Ministry of Finance have issued a follow-up statement on the Fund. The statement was issued on April 14th, 2011 in the Daily Nation, and is currently only available here on KENASVIT’s blog.

(click to enlarge)

The statement addresses issues related to the Fund, including:

  • Objectives
  • Benefits
  • Who is Eligible to Access Loans
  • How the Fund Works
  • Participating Banks
  • Warning Against Fraudulent Groups

We encourage you to read the full statement as well as to approach your local traders’ association and banks to take advantage of this valuable opportunity to access the MSE Fund.

We are hopeful that the MSE Fund will help facilitate KENASVIT’s goal: Let The People Trade!

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Posted by: KENASVIT | April 14, 2011

Intern in Kenya with KENASVIT

KENASVIT is looking for a new intern!

The intern will work as an assistant to the National Coordinator at KENASVIT’s national office, located in Nakuru Town, Kenya. KENASVIT is a young organization and many of its current activities are related to the capacity building of the organization: improvement of social dialogue, mobilization of new members, coordination and strategic planning of local and national activities. The intern will be assigned various tasks related to these overall development efforts of the organization, as well as tasks in several key areas:
• Communication: Given that improving internal organizational communication between the national and local bodies is a key priority, the intern will assist the National Coordinator in developing new communication methods. The intern will also assist with the drafting and preparation of the KENASVIT newsletter.
• Accountability: The intern will be expected to assist in the preparation of Activity and Annual reports to ensure accountability to KENASVIT’s partners and donors
• Representation: The Intern will represent KENASVIT in designated forums, conferences and meetings in Nakuru and elsewhere in Kenya. He or she will also conduct field visits to the urban affiliates, so as to become familiar with their work and to monitor the progress of local activities.
• Fundraising: The intern will assist in fundraising activities to ensure that KENASVIT’s activities can continue to run smoothly
• Research: The intern may have the opportunity to pursue research related to KENASVIT’s members, in order to expand the organization’s data and knowledge base.

Through an internship at KENASVIT, the intern will have the opportunity to develop and make use of administrative, organizational and analytical skills, and subsequently gain a practical insight and experience in the field of civil society development in Kenya.

– Qualifications:
• Candidates must hold a BA as a minimum requirement, in a relevant academic field: political/social science, international development studies, anthropology, development economics/business studies or other relevant field of study.
• Good communication skills and strong analytical skills
• Possess the ability to work independently and apply creative and innovative thinking to practical solutions.
• A profound interest in development issues, especially grass roots organisation and the informal economy.
• Fluency in written and spoken English. Knowledge of Kiswahili is an advantage but not a requirement.

Ideally, the internship will run from June 2011 to November 2011, although KENASVIT can accommodate differences in dates or duration. When applying, please state your desired start date and duration. Due to KENASVIT’s status as a young, donor-funded organization, regrettably, we are not able to offer any economic support during the internship. Interns should also be aware that work-related travel and accommodation in Kenya cannot be reimbursed.

Applications and relevant questions regarding the internship should be submit to Ms. Caitlin Grandison (caitlin.grandison@gmail.com). Applications consisting of a CV and cover letter must be received no later than May 2, 2011. We look forward to receiving your application.

Posted by: KENASVIT | March 28, 2011

3.8 Billion KSH Available for Micro and Small Enterprises

The long-awaited Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) Fund was officially launched by the Government on March 14, 2011 at the Treasury in Nairobi. In attendance were, among others, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Treasury Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua, Bank Directors, and representatives of Micro and small enterprises including KENASVIT’s affiliate in Nairobi – NISCOF.

MSEs Sector is the source of income for over 8 million people, who represent the majority of working Kenyans. However, this sector faces many challenges, such as financial exclusion and a lack of access to credit. As the Hon. Minister Uhuru Kenyatta stated at the Launch, the Government is now “taking the necessary steps to transform the MSE sector to be one of the key drivers for achieving a broad based economic growth, employment creation and poverty eradication.” The Government hopes that the Fund will play a key role in tackling unemployment, especially among youth.

The Government released Sh750 million to three commercial banks, forming the first disbursement of the MSE Fund. Equity, Co-operative and K-Rep banks each received Sh250 million to lend to MSEs at an affordable rate. Under the agreement, each bank will contribute five shillings to the Fund for every shilling provided by the government, meaning that the Fund will consist of Sh3.8 billion. The banks are required to assume the risk of the loans and of non-repayment and to ensure that loans reach MSEs quickly and at affordable rates. An additional Sh3 billion in loan funds are to be released by the Government at a later date, as well as Sh800 million which has been allocated for capacity-building in entrepreneurship for the MSE sector.

KENASVIT and other MSE representatives have been active in engaging the Government on issues related to the MSE Bill drafting and to MSE Fund implementation; In November 2010, the Ministry of Finance hosted the MSE Fund workshop with members of the informal economy and bank representatives, in which KENASVIT participated. The workshop sensitized the informal sector on the Fund, its implementation framework, government policy on the financial sector, and the need for financial inclusion of the informal sector. Workshop participants gave proposals with regard to the structure and accessibility of funds by MSEs, for instance; interest rates, bank monopoly and inclusion of the transport sector just to mention a few. A committee of Government, Bank and informal economy representatives was then formed to review and incorporate these proposals into a final resolution on the MSE Fund. KENASVIT and other MSE stakeholders are still engaging the government in attempts to fast-track the MSE Bill.

What the MSE Fund means for Traders:

  • Any registered micro and small enterprise, MSE association or umbrella organization can access the Fund
  • MSEs can now access loans for business expansion from Equity, Co-operative and K-Rep Banks
  • Borrowing will be set at an 8% interest rate, which is lower than commercial rates
  • Other specific terms of lending policy will differ between the banks
  • Borrowers will not be required to be a customer of any of the banks
  • Funds will be accessible at bank branches of the three banks countrywide
  • Individual members can also access the funds directly from the bank but the government is encouraging borrowing through groups for the sake of loan security
  • Association members who apply in a group will act as each others’ co-guarantors
  • Loans will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, so traders should visit a bank branch as soon as possible to ensure access to the Fund.
Posted by: KENASVIT | March 28, 2011

Informal Economy Associations Catch Media Attention

UK Magazine Red Pepper recently published a piece entitled “Organising On the Edge,” focusing on grassroots informal economy organisations, like KENASVIT. The article draws attention to the rapid rise of the informal economy in sub-Saharan Africa, the unfavourable working conditions faced by street vendors and market traders, as well the success of these workers in uniting together in associations. The article closes by saying:

With the ongoing global economic crisis, the informal economy in sub-Saharan Africa is set to continue growing, making the work of informal economy associations even more vital. The fact that they have managed to survive in the face of increasing criminalisation at home and minimal support from the international community bears testimony to their significance. No doubt they will continue to be a progressive force in the future development of grass-roots struggle in Africa.

The article was written by Caroline Elliot of War on Want — one of KENASVIT’s international partners. To read to full piece, please visit: http://www.redpepper.org.uk/organising-on-the-edge/.

Posted by: KENASVIT | December 15, 2010

Goodbye From Sara Friis From Denmark

Thank you KENASVIT for giving me a chance to work with you. I have really enjoyed my stay and work in Kenya.I hope that you will grow greater heights in future. I wish to assure you that you are doing great and important work. Keep it up!
All the best and Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous year 2011.

Sara.

Posted by: KENASVIT | November 2, 2010

Guidelines for reporting activities

KENASVIT has developed electronic guidelines to be used for reporting on acitivities. The purpose of these guidelines is to enhance prompt reporting back on activities as they occur. Therefore all members nominated to represent KENASVIT at any activity should submit an electronic report based on the guidelines found on this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/J7HBCNF
The report must be submitted no later than two weeks from the date of the activity.

Posted by: KENASVIT | November 1, 2010

KENASVIT Annual Evaluation

KENSVIT has initiated an annual evaluation exercise to be done by its members with the view to get members’ feedback on activities  as well as capture their current needs and aspirations to facilitate provision of better services. To access the evaluation form, follow this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/99LP5MP

Posted by: KENASVIT | October 29, 2010

KENASVIT Photo Album

Please visit KENASVIT’s official web photo album at
http://picasaweb.google.com/106255377471470269103

Posted by: KENASVIT | October 28, 2010

New constitution a victory for Kenyans

KENASVIT national chairman, Simon Sangale Ole Nasieku here explains what the new constitution and the referendum mean to the workers in Kenya.

The historic win for “YES” camp during the referendum was a clear and resounding statement that Kenyans have been yearning for a new constitutional dispensation.

We in KENASVIT pay tribute to the thousands of informal traders who participated in the plebiscite.

The issues which made the “YES” campaign more appealing to street traders and Hawkers resulting in its resounding victory were:

a)     Expanded Bill of rights to include economic, social and cultural rights alongside the civil and political rights. The right to health to food, to shelter and other basic needs is now protected by the constitution

b)    Reduced powers of the President

c)     Better checks and balances of power – Cabinet secretaries drawn from outside parliament will now replace the ministers

d)    Better representation of the people including women

e)     Opportunities for marginalized and special interest groups youths and persons with disabilities and other members of society

f)     Devolution of power to counties – counties will use resources to bring services closer to the people

g)     Management of land is crucial to street traders and Hawkers. All public land will be now administered by the National Lands commission. Land will be accessible in urban and peri-urban to street traders and Hawkers.

That Kenyans went through the process in a calm and peaceful environment is a plus for Kenyans. After post election violence in 2007/2008, KENASVIT started a campaign of peace building, conflict resolution and reconciliation among our members countrywide, geared towards bringing communities together and resolving not to fight again. Street vendors and Hawkers had suffered loss of wares, injury, deaths and displacement. The government and other stake holders under took national Peace campaigns through media public forums, road shows which created forums for discussions contentious issues thereby allaying fears. The campaigns targeted individuals who were encouraged to read, decide and vote for the preferred choice (YES/NO). KENASVIT played a big role in distributing over 10,000 copies of the proposed Kenyan constitution to Bodboda, Hawkers, Disabled persons, women and youths.

KENASVIT officials played a big role in civic education and during the referendum day street vendors were involved in voting observing and as polling clerks. The declaration of a public holiday on the referendum day enabled most to vote and the heavy and massive security presence helped a lot.

Street vendors, Hawkers and most of the informal traders in Kenya overwhelmingly supported the proposed constitution and we are eagerly awaiting the President to promulgate it in order for us to monitor its implementation.

The informal economy is a global phenomenon and a serious development issue around the world. Workers in the informal economy are widely neglected in terms of enjoyment of rights and formal recognition as workers. In Kenya about 70 % of the population is employed in the informal economy and they contribute as a major factor in the national economy. This has motivated us to focus our studies on how people organize to improve their situation and fight for their rights as workers.

Through six weeks in Kenya, we learned how the members are facing a range of different challenges such as land and space issues, lack of water and sanitation at the work place, harassment, lack of security and lack of political influence and representation. In this respect, KENASVIT has done a lot to improve both the relation to the authorities and the general conditions of street vendors and informal traders.

With the help of the KENASVIT National Office, we visited four of the seven urban alliances – Nakuru, Migori, Mombasa and Nairobi. We were overwhelmed by how warmly we were welcomed as students. Everywhere we went the members of KENASVIT made us feel at home and went out of their way to accommodate us.

By talking to a great number of KENASVIT’s members in their working places – streets, markets and stalls –we learned about the challenges that the informal traders face. Though workers experience challenges and possibilities different e.g. gender or tribe, many of the same issues are at stake for informal traders all over Kenya. KENASVIT has done very important work with focusing on keeping and supporting unity among traders after the post-election violence as well as encouraging women to participate in line with men. However, there is a need to enhance the structures in order to make everybody able to participate in the trajectory of KENASVIT, for example with regard to seminars, workshops and elections. These were issues that many members spoke about.

From KENASVIT’s members we also got a good impression of the way the informal traders work as civil society actors to make their voice included in the political debates and developments.
From our viewpoint, one of KENASVIT’s greatest strengths is the fact that the organisation is truly grass root based. KENASVIT has a close feeling of the local level and is capable of bringing their issues to the national and international level. That is unique in pushing for policy change and for uniting informal workers on a larger scale. This is key if the ambition is not only to improve the living conditions on a short-term scale (e.g. small-scale loans with only a limited transformative potential), but also to realize worker’s rights as well as political change as a long-term goal. Hence, communication and information among members on all levels is crucial in order to enhance a strong common voice. This being said, we were deeply impressed by the commitment, will and strength of the informal traders in coming together in a national alliance. Like one street trader told us: A good member is one who contributes, not only with member fees, but also with ideas for change.

This reflects that KENASVIT has a true potential to transform the situation for many informal workers in Kenya.

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