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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The BOMA Project

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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

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


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.


Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of working with founder Kathleen Colson and her team for the past year, helping them refine and execute communications strategy. Our firm has substantial experience with NGOs and developing world issues. We find BOMA to have an extraordinarily disciplined, effective, and original strategy. They are tightly focused on their target area and target clients -- some of the poorest people in some of the most difficult terrain in the Horn of Africa -- and they produce extraordinary results, including a 97 percent success rate for business start-ups after three years. These guys are the real deal, putting everything they can into developing self-sustaining businesses, developed and mentored by locals, with a model that far outperforms typical microfinance. We are honored to be able to help them tell their story -- dig into the statistics on their site and see for yourself how impressive it is.


Rating: 5

As an advisor to BOMA, I am always impressed with the high level of commitment, efficiency and positive impact demonstrated by the organization. They partner with the communities they serve, basing programs on actual needs of the people on the ground, and employing and training local Kenyans to implement the projects. They smartly use monitoring and evaluation tools to constantly measure their impact and tweak programs as necessary. With this effective and successful model of international development, BOMA is on a trajectory to expand rapidly in the coming months and years.