Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has for the past one year implemented the Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) programme in partnership with the Catholic Church and other partners in Kenya. The SILC programme in Malindi and Kilifi regions of Coastal Province of Kenya has been implemented as a component of HIV/AIDS and OVC programmes. The main objective of the SILC programme is to enable the economically active poor, especially women to develop their own reliable financial services and to support community self reliance and resilience. CRS commissioned MicroSave to undertake a review to find out whether the programme has positive effects on participants on the six core areas of asset strengthening i.e. human and spiritual assets, social assets, political assets, financial assets, physical assets and natural assets; and make recommendations for expansion. The method used for collection of primary data was mainly qualitative while some quantitative data on participants and secondary data on the programme was collected using quantitative methods. References were made to the Field Agents Data Collection Forms at the Partner offices (Catholic Diocese of Mombasa) in Mombasa. The CRS Regional Office provided SILC MIS data from which comparative analysis was undertaken and SILC performance data was used to compare new and older groups by location.
The review revealed that the programme is meeting its goal of providing financial services to the poor and vulnerable communities of Kilifi, Mombasa and Malindi. There are positive effects of the programme on financial asset strengthening. As at the end of September 2007, the program in Kilifi, Mombasa and Malindi had reached a total of 3,001 members and facilitated the mobilisation of Kshs 1,543,280 (US$1 21,434) in savings. The program had disbursed a total of Kshs 558,915 in loans to 460 borrowers2, representing an average loan size of Kshs 1,215 (US$ 17.9).