#Success story. Pezesha empowers Mary!

August 21, 2017 in success stories

Article by Shirlyn Njeri, Operations, Pezesha.

Mary in her micro grocery & fruits Kiosk

By looking at Mary, you would say she is your ordinary Kenyan woman. This statement, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Mary is anything but ordinary. She’s a fighter and she is hardworking to the core. From her early 3 am mornings at Machakos bus stop picking her delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables, to her late nights at her informal grocery vending business (normally called “Mama Mboga Kibanda”). She’s always in her Maasai kanga with Swahili sayings written on the edges: “Mstahimilivu hula mbivu (a patient man will eat ripe fruits), Mtaka cha mvunguni sharti ainame (he who requires what is under the bed must stoop for it) are but some of the sayings. They mostly revolve around the message that hard work pays. Indeed, the sweat crystals dripping from her ebony tanned forehead to her double chin and eventually her soft torso do everything to imply hard work. The 12 o’clock midday sun shining above her full afro is not kind but does not dissuade her from her daily hustle. She bends, walks and stretches to ensure she never goes out of business. The “Mama Mboga” business is not one to be handled lightly or dismissively. Mary knows this and puts her best foot forward every day.

It was a cold windy Wednesday morning, she remembers so clearly, the day Pezesha field officers waltzed into one of her group’s usual monthly Chama meetings bringing the good news. A loan that did not require any savings and had fair interest rates with flexible repayment terms to give breathing room and ensure her business grows . One would almost say it resembled the missionaries bringing the gospel to Africa, only better received by this eager group of business ladies. Little did the bubbly vibrant field officers conducting the loan application process realize that they had brought the much needed hope to Mary .That day changed the course of her life forever.

“Pezesha loans came to me at a time when I had lost all hope in life. I had just buried my husband of ten years whom I lost from a gristly road accident. I had to learn to fend for myself and my 4 innocent pairs of eyes looking up to me” says Mary. Her first born daughter had also just been sent home from high school due to fees arrears. With no stable support system, you could say she was desperate. You couldn’t, of course, tell all this by just looking at her. She did not necessarily think of her long term goals when she applied for the loan. In that moment all she needed was to get out of the rut she was in, for her family’s sake.

A few months down the line she still speaks of Mildred, the field officer who did her loan application process, with utter respect and appreciation. In her very wise words, “it’s not everyday you get to interact with a company that is as welcoming and customer friendly as the Pezesha team. I am more than grateful to my fellow Kenyan who believed in me and funded my first Kshs 3,000 loan that has now grown to a Kshs 10,000 loan in a few weeks ” This in turn resulted in the timely repayments of her loans and gradual increase in loan amount. Her credit score has also grown to be excellent over time and now she can qualify for bigger loans to add more stock in her business.

Not a prado in sight to ferry her around at her whim and call, but all the happiness her life can gather. She has ensured her children are well fed, in school, healthy and sheltered every single night. Her business has grown immensely as well. Where she previously only sold a box of oranges in traffic along the streets and roads of Nairobi, she now has a fruit stall where she sells all types of fresh fruits with a growing clientele. Now she doesn’t have to worry about the city council authorities chasing her around the town for illegally hawking and the losses that are incurred during such an ordeal as she has a business permit. No public relations agent but for her soft spoken nature, wit, grit, dependability and good customer service, just to mention a few. She now makes smart business choices and knows that loans, if utilized properly, can lead to great success. She has learnt how to deal with the bad times, developed consistency, resilience, dignity and now understands better the value of hard work. She is the very definition of strength of a woman, overcoming her obstacles and rising above them.

I don’t know what your idea of success is, in this highly superficial society we live in, but this comes pretty close in Mary’s world.

Press Release: DFS Lab Announces Investment in African Fintech Startups- Pezesha being one of them.

June 27, 2017 in Announcements

Source: Cision PR Newswire

Digital Financial Services Lab (DFS Lab) today announced it would invest $250,000 in four separate fintech startups that are building products that help low-income consumers in developing markets. Inclusive (based in Ghana), Pula (based in Kenya), Pezesha, (based in Kenya), and Teller, (based in the United States), were each selected for financing after presenting their products at DFS Lab’s Fintech BootCamp in Sri Lanka earlier this year. DFS Lab, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks to identify promising entrepreneurs and invest in companies that focus on consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Read the full press release by clicking here.

Sports Betting behaviour a common trend among low income borrowers in Kenya

June 8, 2017 in Trends

Pezesha is a Peer-to-Peer micro lending Marketplace that connects lenders with high quality underserved  low income borrowers by giving them choice, inclusion and affordable digital financial services that elevates their freedom, equality and hope to being part of the formal financial system.

Mobile credit in Kenya has left the poorest 40% of Kenyans behind – with penetration in this segment at less than 10% which prevents them from having the means to expand their micro-businesses and move up in their well being.

Pezesha solves this through taking a data-centric approach to giving loans to low income borrowers which traditional organisations and smartphone lenders won’t.

As such we are able to find rich insights from the behaviours of our customers.

What are the odds

One of the key findings has been the prevalence of gambling amongst low-income borrowers.

Each month, a high number are spending money at some of the most popular gambling companies in Kenya, often forming a major portion of their total outgoings. This exists across both both male and female borrowers, though is seen most with males.

What’s interesting is whether borrowers admit to having gambled.

From our data we are able to cross-reference whether a borrower self-reports their gambling with whether they actually do.

There could be many reasons why they do not self-report. Some may feel shame at undertaking gambling activities, whilst others may feel it is improper to mention in the process of applying for a loan.

In any case, the outcomes from this data make for interesting insights.

A losing streak

The impact of gambling on an individual and their family is large and overbearing.

People can get into a web of bad decisions where one bad bet follows another, and before long invaluable possessions are being sold to try and win back huge losses.

There are naturally huge psychological pressures that come with this, such as strains on familial relations and physical danger from inability to pay ones debts.

Indeed a behaviour we have observed is that of borrowers receiving money from financial institutions (i.e. loans) and within a few hours paying that same amount to a sports betting company.

Affecting repayment

When we run the numbers, we see how the level of gambling that an individual undertakes translates into a predictive element of whether a borrower will back.

Across our population of borrowers we see that:

  • No/ Low gambling: doesn’t affect repayment
  • Moderate/ High gambling: repayment is significantly worse

When someone is in the throes of gambling, or doesn’t fully appreciate the implications of betting in the broader picture of their lives, then undesirable choices and actions can often follow.The toil and pressures of betting consistently result in lower likelihood of a person repaying their loan.

Change needs to happen

Much has been written about the appeal of betting for those with low income, and at Pezesha we are seeking to help both through the work we do, and organisations we partner with.

In collaboration with other players in the market we have made it our responsibility to  offer education and training to low-income borrowers on the consequences that can arise from systemic gambling, the impact this can have on themselves, their families, and their businesses, and measures they can take curb their influence.

This gets to the heart of why Pezesha exists.

Our mission is to provide a peer to network marketplace of high quality low income loans to our lenders and  this can only be achieved if the people who are give credit to are in a position to repay.

Helping micro-businesses grow is not just in disbursing funds at an affordable rate, but also holistic lessons in how to build a better future. Hence why at Pezesha we are keen in building a strong credit ecosystem of quality low income borrowers by collaborating with other market players to join hands with us in building the future of banking that is inclusive to creditworthy and with responsible low income borrowers who have often been ignored and considered risky due to such gambling behaviours. We believe with the right foundation- education and value add services and products e.g. savings and financial training etc that could motivate the low income to save and invest responsibly for the long term then it puts them a step ahead on the formal financial ladder, meaning our vision for the future will be possible.

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