Musoni, Kenya: Ruth remembers clearly when things changed for her family. It had been tough supporting her children while her husband struggled with alcohol. She spent her days working as a farm hand in her community in Kenya and her evening fetching water and firewood and preparing the family meal. It was hard to afford food.

"At some point, milk was a luxury," she explained. It was tough, but she was determined to keep her family in their one-room house, and her daughter, Mary, in high school. The turning point came when she learned about Musoni, a local microfinance institution. Musoni uses an all-digital model that allows its clients to receive and repay loans via mobile phones.

When Ruth joined Musoni, she saved up the little she had until she was able to get educational loans for her daughter's schooling. Her third loan - a Kilimo Booster loan - gave her the break she needed for her family. Kilimo Booster is designed for smallholder farmers and offers repayment terms that match a farmer’s crop and cash cycles.

Ruth was able to buy a cow and rent plots of land to farm and has continued to expand her business with additional loans. "Now I am no longer a farm hand, but I employ farm hands to help in my farming. I now cultivate my own land and Musoni is there to give me money to buy seeds, fertilizers and increase the productivity of my farm," she said proudly.

Her home life has also improved. She helped her husband through rehab and he now runs a metal spare parts business - and counsels others about drinking. Ruth has big plans for the future. She wants to buy two more cows to increase her income and to buy a motorcycle to transport fodder for the cows. She also wants to build houses for rental income. And, she's always happy to encourage others to join Musoni. Thinking back, she said, "We are living comfortably. We are well fed and well clothed. I now have piped water, electricity and I also cook with gas. I no longer fetch firewood. I am also able to take care of my grandchild without any problem. If I remember where we were before and the difference now, I feel like crying: God is great."

Source: Musoni, Kenya.