This profile is part of a series that captures how Root Capital’s Gender Equity Grants are transforming the lives of rural women. Read more here.
At 22 years old, Filomena Njeri only recently graduated from university with a degree in food science. This is her first job: Quality Production Supervisor at Sagana Nuts. When she initially arrived, Filomena had to borrow money from her family so that she could pay rent. Her attempts to secure loans from local lenders did not pan out.
Last year, Filomena was finally able to access credit through a savings and credit cooperative implemented for Sagana Nuts employees using a Gender Equity Grant from Root Capital. She started by saving 3,000 Kenyan shillings (about $30) per month and then quickly doubled that to 6,000 in savings per month. When she put enough money into the cooperative to qualify her for a loan—a requirement to access the rotating credit—Filomena decided to use that loan for the benefit of her whole family.
“My family had a cereal business in Nairobi that my brother used to manage from that side, but it wasn’t doing well,” Filomena says. “With the loan we were able to hire someone to help him, and now it’s succeeding.”
Filomena’s access to credit is making a difference for her whole family—and not just through investment in their business. “I can now help my mom pay school fees for my younger siblings,” she says. “At home we have a joint account and nowadays I can contribute to it. Before I was ‘just there’ (idle) but now I’m a contributing member in my household.”