Mentor feedback 1. Taking an agile, adaptive approach / starting with a smaller pilot and working toward the full pilot over the funding period is a strong proposal 2. The enabling environment for refugee livelihoods in Kenya is one of the strictest, so we’ll have to be very adaptive and iterative 3. The more we can demonstrate the case for local integration, the stronger the concept will be to other donors
User feedback 1. Access to capital is the biggest concern for alumni 2. We need to segment our alumni - those already graduated 1+ years ago and those who will be graduating in the next 1-3 years - as their needs and desires for a service like the RCBI are different 3. We need to pivot away from a focus on tailoring at the RCBI and toward other high demand skills like IT and beauty, and integrate business advisory services and capital
Expert feedback 1. Focus on one vocational training to start, then build from there. For us, this will be the IT center with a few sewing machines we already own. 2. Being able to adapt quickly / in real time is not only important to the model's proof of concept, but also to our users, to show that we can response to change quickly 3. Our fee structure should be well-researched in advance and then set for the pilot. Making changes among the same users during the pilot is not recommended.
Chau Tang Duncan Of course! Thanks for your question. The population we serve is unaccompanied, separated, or orphaned female refugee minors. They end up in Nairobi through various journeys, often looking for domestic work or brought here by the people caring for (and often exploiting) them. Many of the girls are not in safe, healthy living environments when they arrive to RefuSHE. They first spend around 3 years moving through RefuSHE's holistic model of primary education, vocational skills training, life skills, case management services, and psychosocial counseling (our "campus" programs) before they're even close to being ready to earn a living in the Kenyan economy. Our campus programs create a close-knit, therapeutic, positive community for the girls, and that's critical for their initial healing and growth trajectory, but it doesn't do enough to help them integrate into the local community or economy. When they graduate from our programs, they don't have the local networks to access community savings groups. They're also still young women (18-22 on average) just finding their feet to stand on, so savings groups understandably are hesitant to take the risk on them.
In terms of MPESA - this is quite tricky. Refugees in Kenya are issued a refugee certificate card, valid for five years. This certificate is not recognized by the Central Bank of Kenya as a valid document for financial transactions, which includes MPESA transactions and bank accounts. In order to legally access financial infrastructure in Kenya, they'd need a national ID (citizenship) or work permit. While there is technically a path to accessing these just as you or I as foreigners would follow, refugees are very, very rarely granted these in practice.