Ester Maruba


In rural Kenya, clients of Juhudi Kilimo — a microfinance organization that focuses on farmers — support each other both financially and emotionally. With guidance from a Juhudi Kilimo loan officer, farmers form groups to receive loans, manage repayments, share business ideas and challenges, and get technical training and product demonstrations. Once business is over, they share tea and bread before heading back to work. If one farmer is trying something new, he or she can definitely expect visitors from the group before the next meeting.

Ester Maruba and her husband, Geoffrey, are farmers in Murang’a in central Kenya where Ester is a member of a cooperative group called Busara, which means integrity in Swahili. The members meet monthly at each others homesteads to discuss techniques, share knowledge and offer each other support.

Like most in her group, Ester is on her second loan. With her first loan of 50,000 shillings (about $590), she and her husband bought a high-yield dairy cow that produces more than 20 liters (about 5 gallons) of milk per day. The cow’s output is 13 liters more than that of their other cows,

With her second loan of 100,000 shillings (about $1,180), Ester and Geoffrey bought a bio-gas plant. Using manure from their dairy cows, the plant will eventually produce enough energy to power their home. Noting that he and Ester would not have been able to find better loan terms elsewhere, Geoffrey says they are very grateful for the opportunity to get a loan through the local microfinance institution.

Grameen Foundation has invested in Juhudi Kilimo, enabling it to serve more farmers, hire new staff and improve operations across its seven branches. Juhudi Kilimo has also adopted Grameen Foundation’s Progress out of Poverty Index® to assess the poverty levels of its clients and track changes in their economic well-being over time.