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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

9 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

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!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a Board member for three years but supported BOMA even before that. BOMA's work is direct, sustainable and measurable, and the results are life-changing. The poorest of the poor are resourced and empowered with the tools to enable them to change their own lives, gaining dignity and respect in their communities and creating micro and fledgling economies. Perhaps most impressive is the strong commitment of the organization to locally-led and transparent leadership, mentoring and programs.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The BOMA Fund is an organization which is committed to helping people who are in desperate conditions, to extract themselves from poverty, and do that in a sustainable way. Their micro financing model has evolved and improved and the success rates are close to 100%. Permanent solutions to poverty in neglected parts of the world merit our support!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Boma is an extremely innovative economic development strategy. It empowers people - particularly women - in one of the harshest environments on earth to become economically self sufficient. The program has had a measurable impact on so many aspects of human well being, from improved health and education, to better nutrition, to increased confidence and a stronger sense of community. There are very few programs that are truly innovative in the way Boma is. It surely deserves your support.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a former professional with ten years in the field, I have seen a great deal of development work. The Boma Project is among the best organizations I have ever seen. It combines high quality professionalism with heartfelt commitment. They conduct thorough assessments and evaluations, they proceed based on their findings. They listen to their constituents, and develop programs accordingly. in this way The Boma Project facilitates commitment, ownership, and leadership at the project level. There is a lot to be learned by looking at the pioneering work of The Boma Project; the organization brings together the best in participatory development,

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

This organization is the finest example of efficient use of donor funds: low overhead, incredible frugal team, great listeners. And the work is guided by the Kenyans on the ground, building capacity to no longer need help. Wonderful!

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Boma Fund is recreating micro-enterprise development. Working in the remote villages of Northern Kenya, The Boma Fund’s ground-breaking grass-roots Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP) is spurring the creation of micro-businesses by providing grants and the necessary ongoing support, training and mentoring to ensure success.