From Fortune to Future: Financing for Sustainable Rural Development
Written by Lynn Hamerlinck on 14 August 2023
In the heart of Kenya's rural landscapes, access to financial services and clean energy remains a challenge. Microfinance institution Fortune Credit works hard to turn the tide for rural dwellers. With their projects now available on Lendahand, Fortune Credit will be able to continue to uplift the lives of smallholder farmers and their communities.
Fortune Credit focuses on two main goals with its activities: empowering Kenyans with financing to foster economic growth and promoting sustainability by offering clean cooking solutions to rural households.
Focusing on the prosperity of farmers, Fortune Credit also works on mitigating the effects of climate change to keep their future safe.
Poverty in Kenya
In 2022, 18 percent of Kenya’s population lived below 1.90 U.S. dollars per day. This means that over 8.9 million Kenyans live in extreme poverty, most of whom are in rural areas. The country is slowly recovering from the higher levels of impoverishment linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
Empowering Farmers with Financing
Farmer Mary struggled for a long time to escape the clutches of poverty. Like many other low-income farmers in rural regions, Mary wasn’t able to cultivate and generate sufficient income from her land. However, her life took a turn when Fortune Credit introduced its warranty program in her community.
For years, farmers like Mary had been marginalized and cut off from vital resources, organizations, and credit facilities. Without access to necessary inputs such as fertilizers and quality seeds, Mary often found herself unable to plant on time or plant at all. No plants mean no harvest, rapidly leading to a very low income.
To unlock farmers’ potential and allow communities to break free from collective rural poverty, Fortune Credit offers farmers the needed financing and advice for them to get access to reliable and affordable suppliers of quality seeds and fertilizers. This way, planting season doesn’t go by unremarked.
Igniting Entrepreneurial Attitude
The support from Fortune Credit transforms the attitudes of farmers like Mary, filling them with optimism and the mindset of entrepreneurs. With the ability to project their incomes and perceive farming as a reliable investment, these farmers gain confidence to commit to improving their land, preventing soil erosion, and fostering stability within their families and communities. Ultimately reaching the combined goal of Lendahand and Fortune Credit to effectively combat poverty.
But what to do when the going gets tough? Even if you work hard and persevere, climate change has devastating effects on the African landscape. Droughts, wildfires, and floods often result in the loss of crops and livestock for rural farmers. Fortune Credit established a data-based donations system to help affected farmers directly by channeling funds. The system triggers applications for donation in case of calamities in a transparent and verifiable manner.
In partnership with DIVA Technologies AG and Shamba Network, Fortune Credit’s conditional donation campaign aims to impact millions of people affected by climate disasters, providing them with an economic lifeline when they need it most.
Distributing Clean Cooking Solutions
Furthermore, Fortune Credit also makes efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. The MFI makes a remarkable difference in the lives of rural dwellers by providing clean cooking solutions, particularly biogas, to remote communities in Kenya. This renewable and carbon-neutral source of energy is obtained through the fermentation of animal waste in bio-digesters, with the emitted gas piped directly to the cooking burners.
Joyce, for example, used to struggle to collect firewood every day to cook meals for her family. The laborious routine of staying up late and waking up at the crack of dawn just to prepare breakfast took a toll on her physical and mental well-being. However, everything changed for Joyce when she discovered Fortune Credit's clean cooking solution on biogas.
With the support of the Clean Cooking Program, Joyce managed to install a bio-digester in her home in 2021. Fortune Credit provided her a loan of Ksh70,000 to be able to do so (approx.450 euros). Now she no longer has to endure a smoke-filled, unhealthy kitchen while cooking.
Beyond the personal advantages, the impact on Joyce's family has been profound. Her children now have more time to play and study since they no longer need to help collect firewood.
CEO & Founder of Fortune Credit, Janet Kuteli, has the ambitious goal of enrolling 10,000 households in their Clean Cooking Program by 2024. You can help Fortune Credit reach that goal with an investment in their crowdfunding projects on Lendahand.
Investing in Fortune Credit directly supports their efforts to positively change lives in Kenya and contribute to a greener and healthier future for many rural communities. Head to our projects page here.