Visionary Empowerment Programme (VEP) is a Non- governmental organization started in 2006 with an aim to empower, motivate and alleviate poverty among communities’ especially rural women and youth in Kenya and to improve both the quality and accessibility of financial services available to them. VEP’s core business is micro lending in Central and Eastern Kenya. Its main clients are women who are in informal groups taking the form of Merry-go-round. The system allows rural women to save money, provide cushion aganist economic fluctuations as well as encourage cooperation and a community feeling.
Our projects revolve around Biogas construction, solar lighting and supply of Improved cook stoves (ICS). In the biogas sector we have partner with Kenya National Domestic Biogas Programme ( KENDBIP) to train masons and biogas supervisors as well as offer subsidy to our clients for quality control.Through SNV, we have partnered with Barefoot, Dlight and Trony East africa all of which supply quality solar lanterns approved by IFC/lighting Africa and from Paradigm Kenya (Ezy life) and East Africa Energy we get ICS.
We have also partnered with KIVA a macro fund in the US to boost our credit portfolio making it more friendly to those at the BoP.
VEP targets the most poor and vulnerable members of the society- women who live in households that own little or no assets. These are the women at the bottom of the pyramid facing financial challenges in investing in renewable energy technologies. Conventional banks shy away from lending to them because of high transactional costs and they lack collaterals. Groups formed and managed by VEP provide joint collateral and serve as instruments for spreading valuable information useful for economic and social progress.
Women are also patient enough to start small, take up small loans and work towards bigger projects. Since January VEP has sold over 15000 renewable energy products (75% through credit) reaching more than 20,000 people
VEP being a women organization, has been able to reach the BoP using the social Capital and affordable credit Approach. Some of the products require large upfront investment and the credit provided by VEP offers flexibility and affordability due to the low interest rate.The market for energy products at the BoP is very big as 80% of Kenyans do not have access to electricity. The identification and addressing of energy access barriers are key in increasing and sustaining access. Community outreach, social capital approach and availability of affordable credit at friendly terms has led to many success stories for VEP in the supply of renewable energy products.
To provide products, services and skills that empowers our community socially and financially for sustainable development.
To have an empowered and motivated community for poverty alleviation.
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
VEP is a leader in providing microfinance solutions to Women, Men and Youth groups running small scale industry and farming. We seek to empower women financially to run viable, competitive, and rewarding enterprises that can compete locally and internationally. In this regard in partnership with KIVA a macro fund in USA we have performed micro lending in various areas namely Murang’a county, Kiambu county, Nyeri county and Nairobi county. This lending has benefited over 7000 families.
Currently, microfinance loans are ‘Group-Based’, that is provided to individuals through groups that are either formed by VEP or are pre-existing. The main purpose of the groups is to facilitate the management and administration of very small loans. The groups allow the MFI to attain economies of scale, as well provide for alternative collateral systems.
VEP sells PicoPV systems used for lighting and thus able to replace unhealthy and inefficient sources such as kerosene lamps and candles. Depending on the model, the systems are able to do small ICT applications like mobile phone charging and radio use. PicoPV systems are powered by a small solar panel and use a battery which can be integrated in the lamp itself. These PicoPV systems offer a wide range of advantages: easy installation (Plug & Play), user-friendly application, low investment costs, little maintenance required, high degree of expandability and flexible use. The prices are generally within the payment capacity of most rural people in the country although VEP also advances credit to those who cannot afford to purchase on cash basis.
VEP also sells Efficient cook stoves that help reduced drudgery on women and increase access to non-polluting power for warming,lighting and cooking. The jikos are able to save up to 50% of firewood used, reduce smoke and soot emissions by up to 70%, reduce cooking time by up to 50% , Eliminate respiratory health problems and eye irritation caused by inhaling smoke and soot while cooking, Modernize your kitchen and enhance flexibility as they are portable.
VEP is the implementing partner of Kenya National Domestic Biogas Programme (KENDBIP) in Central and Eastern Kenya. The Programme which is under subsidy is supported by Hivos and SNV through Africa Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP). VEP recognizes that the environment constitutes the foundation of national economic, social, and cultural progression. The organization has been committed to environmental conservation of soil, biodiversity and sustainable green energy utilization. For this reason numerous biogas plants have beenconstructed in the rural central and eastern Kenya to ensure improved soil fertility by the use of bio-slurry in the household farms.
The construction of biogas plants tremendously improves the living conditions of many Kenyan households, especially, women and children through improved health conditions as cooking on biogas is smokeless. The collection and use of biomass fuel, mostly firewood, is eliminated hence reducing environmental destruction and creating time for other economic activities.
Breeding for biogas Biogas under construction
VEP ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
VISIONARY EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMME FACILITY
VEP headquarter is located in Thika town within the Nairobi's metropolis and consist of offices and mobile field stations. The organization process involves marketing and promotion of products and services and construction of biogas plants. VEP hasover 8000 members belonging to more than 250 groups and over 1400 household clients on biogas project.
VEP also conducts capacity building for farmers and women groups on entrepreneurship and mobilizes women in various household based development programs that are income generating. All these projects are achieved through partnership with SNV, HIVOS, KIVA, KENFAP, KENDBIP and relevant government departments at the grassroots.
We have an accumulated management expertise in Marketing, micro-enterprise management, and a solid team of microfinance and biogas experts. Our products are diversified to serve start-up businesses including capital investment and asset finance for medium businesses clients .
We have a long term commitment to eradication of poverty and reinforcement of strategies to empower Kenyan families through women who participate in meeting their daily needs and avoid dependency. ‘Don’t give fish but teach people how to fish is our philosophy’
A beneficiary of envirofit Jiko