Over 700 million people make less than $1.90 per day globally, 50% of whom are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Extreme poverty often disqualifies people from participating in aid programs such as microfinance and restricts access to mobile phones, bank accounts, capital or markets. The BOMA Project (BOMA) empowers women in the drylands of Africa to establish sustainable livelihoods, build resilient families, graduate from extreme poverty, and catalyze change in their rural communities by unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of women.
BOMA’s Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP) has helped over 37,683 women start new businesses and gain the skills to graduate from extreme poverty and overcome the inequitable obstacles in their paths. REAP engages women in two years of sequenced interventions and mentorship to establish their own businesses.
REAP gives women living in extreme poverty the power to take control of their lives and their futures.
By the time BOMA started working with Spring Impact, REAP had successfully addressed the intersectional problems of lack of income, inconsistent cashflows, and barred access to financial services for women in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Africa (ASALs).
After nine years of rigorously refining and testing REAP, the BOMA team was ready to scale the impact of REAP beyond Northern Kenya, but they didn’t yet have a clear plan for how to do so. While they were equipped to scale up their direct implementation activities and work with government agencies, they knew that they could achieve even greater impact by working in partnership with other organizations to implement REAP in new locations, something in which they did not yet have experience or expertise.
Between 2016 and 2017, Spring Impact worked with BOMA to refine their approach to scaling to new locations— in particular, by forming strategic partnerships with other organizations that have local relationships, knowledge, and other assets to ensure that REAP can be effectively deployed in new communities.
At the time, BOMA did not have its current model clearly documented in a way that could be evaluated and improved upon for working with partners. With Spring Impact’s help, BOMA developed a clear direction for scale, a 5-year plan, financial model, and a set of tools that documented how REAP would work through strategic partnerships.
Equipped with a clear plan of action and set of essential tools to use with every partner, BOMA formed strong partnerships with several leading international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) to replicate REAP in four new counties, including one in neighboring Uganda. They have reached over 5,300 business owners directly and a further 26,835 people through the families these businesses support.
The outcomes and impact of these replicated projects have so far been almost identical to what BOMA has been able to achieve through direct implementation, which has been proven to increase income by 147%, increase savings by 1400%, decrease children going to bed hungry by 63%, and drastically increase education (63%) and medical (258%) spending.
For more details on the project, see case study published here.
Photo credit: The BOMA Project