Innovative Finance for Improved Livelihood (IFIL) Launch

(Right - Left) Caroline Mulwa Investment Manager, OikoCredit, George Onyango, Regional Director, We Effect, Hanna Carlsson, First Secretary Human Rights and Democracy, Embassy of Sweden and Marc Simbizi ,Regional representative East Africa -Church of Sweden. Photo Catherine Waking'a

We Effect, Church of Sweden and Oikocredit launched the Innovative Finance for Improved livelihood (IFIL) project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers through innovative financing. The new project will focus on addressing the capacity weakness and opportunities of 30 farmer-based organizations (FBOs).

The launch in Kenya was presided over by Hanna Carlsson First Secretary, Human Rights and Democracy Embassy of Sweden. Speaking during the launch event, Ms. Carlsson emphasised that SIDA considers the project very innovative and encouraged everyone involved to have a flexible approach, adapt and learn along the process to ensure the project’s success.

Our Chief guest, Hanna Carlsson, First secretary Human Rights and Democracy – Embassy of Sweden giving her speech during the launch. Photo Catherine Waking’a

IFIL is a 5-year (2021-2026) pilot partnership project that focuses on addressing the capacity weaknesses and opportunities of 30 Farmer-Based Organisations (FBOs) based in Kenya and Uganda and largely owned by women.

The $ 20 million joint project will be implemented in Kenya and Uganda and will focus on combining a loan guarantee facility with capacity-building initiatives to address the lack of access to financial services for smallholder farmers.

While in Uganda it was presided by Mr. Frederick Ngobi Gume, Minister of State, Uganda Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives who retaliated that, the “IFIL-project presents important answers to many challenges for farmer-based organisations in Uganda.

Minister of state for cooperatives, Frederick Ngobi Gume. Photo Catherine Waking’a

The partnership will also focus on gender mainstreaming to enhance equal opportunities for women, men and youth to access financial resources, which is critical for improved livelihood survival of rural enterprises.

“Financial inclusion is a necessary tool for increasing access to the right to food through sustainable agriculture production. This is an opportunity to address capacity weakness and potential of the farmer-based organisations,” said We Effect Regional Director George Onyango.

The targeted capacity-building initiatives will empower farmer-based organisations to address specific capacity gaps in their value chains. With, this, they could then meet a threshold for engagement as set by a financial service provider. Ultimately this will enable better access to financial services by FBOs and their members for improved livelihoods.

Speaking during the project launch George Onyango, East Africa Regional Director said, Innovative finance and effective financial inclusion will address increased productivity, market access and employment among others calls for partnerships/collaborations between financial institutions, and farmer-based organisations (FBOs), and rural-based cooperatives. With this, agricultural-based economies will attract the much-needed participation of women and young people across rural areas.

Scovia Bakiengana a coffee farmer from Mt Ruwenzori making addressing participants during the IFIL launch in Kampala, Uganda. Photo : Catherine Waking’a

The partnership which will last 5 years (2021-2026) is acknowledging the multiplicity of challenges faced by FBOs in Kenya and Uganda, IFIL project will focus on addressing their capacity weaknesses and opportunities of 30 farmer-based organisations (FBOs) in Kenya and Uganda largely owned by women and is an innovation implemented through a human rights-based approach.

The 5-year project aims to strengthen Farmer based organizations (FBOs) – including cooperatives, SACCOs, and SMEs) accessing commercial loans for improved businesses and service delivery to their members.

Project expected outcomes

The project seeks to enhance access to financial services for the targeted FBOs. Gender mainstreaming will enhance equal opportunities for women, men and youth to access financial resources, which is critical for improved livelihoods, survival of rural enterprise, and poverty reduction.

  • Improved loan access by 30 mature FBOs to invest in their value chains. ( Within 5 years of capacity building start.
  • Improved policies that support the commercialisation of FBOs businesses are discussed.
  • Financial Service Providers (FSP) develop more responsive products to FBOs.
  • Other civil society organisations that show interest to participate in similar interventions arise.

Media coverage

Business Daily Kenya

Written by

Catherine Waking'a