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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Economic Development, International, International Agricultural Development, International Economic Development, Microfinance, Women, Womens Rights

Mission: The BOMA Project is an innovative microfinance organization that helps ultra-poor women in Northern Kenya to graduate from extreme poverty. We help women start small businesses, so they can earn a sustainable income, survive drought, pay for food and medical care, send their children to school, and accumulate savings for long-term family stability.

Results: Since 2009, BOMA has impacted more than 86,000 women and children, and launched 3,658 businesses and 672 savings groups. Our goal is to lift 100,000 women and children out of extreme poverty by 2018 and 1 million women and children by 2021.

Target demographics: Women living in extreme poverty in Northern Kenya. When we begin working with them, 99 percent of BOMA entrepreneurs live on less than $2.50 per day (the poverty line), while 88 percent live on less than $1.25 per day (the extreme poverty line).

Direct beneficiaries per year: 9,061 women who support more than 43,000 dependent children, enrolled 2,550 new participants, launched 3,658 businesses and 672 savings groups

Geographic areas served: Laisamis, Loiyangalani, Marsabit and Samburu Districts of Northern Kenya.

Programs: Our cornerstone program, the Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP), provides a seed capital grant, business skills and savings training, and two years of hands-on mentoring by local BOMA Village Mentors to business groups of three women. Once businesses are established and earning profits, we help them to assemble committed savings associations for business expansion and individual interest-bearing loans.

Community Stories

44 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

Out of Segal Family Foundation's portfolio of over 200 grantee partners, The BOMA Project is unique for the population they target; infrastructure and employment opportunities are lacking in the African drylands. BOMA has great leadership, a cost-effective model, and has demonstrated impressive scale in a short period of time. We appreciate their strong partnerships and collaborations with stakeholders, local leaders, and government. BOMA also benefits from strong M&E systems and depth of data, which is fantastic.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

BOMA is one of Smarter Good’s long term clients and we've had the privilege to witness how they have been able to help increasing numbers of women and children in the ASALs of Africa. Because of their emphasis on rigorously tracking impact, making data driven decisions, creating long-term change, and designing a program uniquely tailored to the context of women of the African drylands, I consider BOMA one of the most promising leaders in the poverty graduation space and a role model for other organizations in the sector. I recently had the chance to work with BOMA’s board members and senior management team to develop their next strategic plan. I was amazed and inspired by the commitment that each person brought to the table. BOMA has a highly experienced, talented and dedicated board and staff and that gives me the confidence that BOMA will achieve its ambitious goal of changing the lives of 1 million women and children by end of 2022. I would really recommend BOMA as a vision-first organization that will continue to grow and succeed in the coming years.

Donor

Rating: 5

The poverty graduation success rate of this organization is unmatched in my experience. This is particularly noteworthy given that they purposely target the most difficult and dire environments and situations. Further, staffing locally and sourcing mentors from past graduates provides credibility and builds self-reliance versus dependence. Finally, it's use of technology as a staff multiplier and to fuel data driven analysis and decision-making really sets this relatively small non-profit apart from the pack. This is a model that has legs...and it has heart. I am proud to be a donor/supporter of this exceptional work.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I serve on Boma’s board because I know that Boma’s innovative approach to alleviating extreme poverty, building economic resilience and empowering women works. I first traveled to Kenya as a young teenager in 1972 and vowed to return. When I joined Boma’s board in 2007, I had not been able to return to Kenya, but through Boma, I knew I was helping to transform the lives of women and their families in the remote arid lands of Africa. At last, in 2015, 43 years later, I traveled to northern Kenya and was able to witness the power of Boma’s work firsthand. Through Boma’s proven, data-driven poverty graduation model, these previously marginalized women are forming successful businesses, building economic safety nets and better providing for their families. Boma’s remarkable work truly does provide the path toward Prosperity with Dignity.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Board of BOMA a little over two years ago, soon after meeting founder Kathleen Colson. BOMA is a remarkable organization working at the cutting edge of eliminating extreme poverty in the drylands of Africa.

This is not one time humanitarian aid. BOMA begins by identifying the very poorest women in a village based on interviews with village residents. About 90% of these women have no savings and about 2/3 have sent their children to bed hungry in the last week. BOMA gives these women small cash grants to start small businesses and then follows up with two years of hands-on mentoring.

After 2 years, 93% of these women have graduated out of extreme poverty based on a rigorous set of criteria, including the fact that 93% of these graduates report that no child in their household has gone to bed hungry in the past month.

As further evidence of the efficacy of this approach, BOMA was one of four nonprofits worldwide to pass the rigorous “impact audit” conducted in 2015 by ImpactMatters, an organization led by Yale Economist Dean Karlan.

These remarkable results deserve support from anyone who believes in the ability of women to change their lives for the better when given even the smallest of opportunities.

Katherine Roome, BOMA Board Member

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been to Kenya twice to see BOMA at work and have supported their work for several years as has our family Foundation. BOMA gets to the heart of what it means to lift people out of poverty---they work with women who are marginalized by giving them training in starting their own businesses, give them initial funding and then stay involved with them to assure the businesses are successful. Then they help them save from their profits so they have a measure of financial security.
They don't just give a bit and then leave---they stay involved and the women's businesses flourish.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I've been a freelance grant and communications writer for BOMA since 2010. It has been remarkable to watch BOMA's poverty graduation program evolve. At every level, BOMA's staff and leadership are committed to delivering a high-quality program that transforms the life of every participant -- lifting them and their families out of extreme poverty and giving them the tools they need to build a brighter future. In one of the most remote, rural regions on the planet, BOMA is notable for its use of data and technology to analyze outcomes, improve the program and drive innovation. Mentors visit each business and savings group monthly -- often walking many kilometers or riding motorbikes across the scrubland to reach women who are operating successful BOMA-funded kiosks in far-flung settlements. Using tablets with a BOMA -developed application called Performance Insights, they gather extensive data on how each participant, business and savings group is faring --then upload this information in real-time to our cloud-based Salesforce database, where it's read and analyzed by our monitoring and evaluation team. This allows a rapid and targeted response for groups that need support -- and provides the data we need to continually refine the program. While this all sounds wonky, it's this devotion to the nuts-and-bolts that makes BOMA remarkable ... and the stories and gratitude that we constantly hear in the field, from women whose lives have been forever changed by BOMA, are the proof.

1 Nancy.Stroupe.Kannappan

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had the good fortune of working for BOMA in their Kenya location and am now on their Board. I can tell you firsthand, they value and promote everything I would want to see in a non for profit organization: participant empowerment, data driven results, and validated/sustainable impact. I'm extremely proud to be a part of BOMA.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

My wife and I just returned from two weeks in the field with Kathleen and Kura to visit BOMA's important work in the drylands of Northern Kenya - one of the poorest regions of the world, and one of the most vulnerable to climate change. BOMA provides a combination of small monetary grants and basic business training and mentorship to help women establish new sources of income. As these new businesses take hold - small shops, butcheries, fish and livestock traders - BOMA also helps support the establishment of savings associations among participants to create a hedge against the perils of drought.

The impact we witnessed was astounding. We heard story after story of economic empowerment, of self-reliance, of successful savings strategies. The savings groups established by BOMA's women have helped to strengthen communities and save lives by providing small loans to pay for emergency transport to hospital, for school fees, or for helping the neediest. We were overwhelmed by the gratitude expressed by the women we met for the tools, the support, and the awareness that BOMA has provided them. These women deserve all the credit for the success of the program. Thank you BOMA for giving them that opportunity!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been discouraged by our past history of "aiding those poor people" and then I had the opportunity to travel with a group of women on a trip to Kenya that was led by Kathleen Colson, founder of BOMA. This was such a different approach - one that took time to establish because it rested on the solid foundation of building relationships and honoring and respecting the skills and desires of those who live in northern Kenya by incorporating them in the process. It also succeeded because BOMA provides support through training, follow up and mentors. The mentors are citizens in their villages who are chosen for their skills and leadership qualities.
I witnessed such compassion and passion in the BOMA leadership and such hope from the women who are now able to get better food, provide medicine and education and even participate in a savings program. Now I am more encouraged that this model exists and succeeds.