BOMA’s Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP) is a data-driven, high impact poverty graduation program for women in the arid and semi-arid lands of Africa. We put ultra-poor women at the center of our work by helping them build a pathway out of extreme poverty. REAP addresses three elements that contribute to the cycle of aid dependency in the arid lands of Africa: low incomes, inconsistent cash flows and inadequate financial services for poor rural women. Profits from each REAP business provide a diversified income, while BOMA savings associations help women to manage cash flow (for daily needs), plan for future expenses (such as school fees and medical care), and respond to shocks (such as drought or family emergencies).
Against a backdrop of failed aid efforts and few-to-no peers working in its target geographic regions, BOMA is proving that a gender-focused poverty graduation program can improve the lives of women in rural Africa – specifically in arid lands where more than 12 million people face the most dire threats to food, water, economic, and political security.
BOMA’s gender-focused adaptation of the poverty graduation model includes a sequence of interventions over the course of two years:
The Six Steps of REAP
|Step 1: Targeting, Community Buy-in, and Baseline Survey
|Step 2 - Mentoring and Coaching
|Step 3 - Cash Transfer
|Step 4 - Financial Training, Gender Focused Life Skills and Human Rights
|Step 5 - Savings and Access to Credit
|Step 6 - Financial Inclusion: Connecting to Formal Financial Institutions
Does REAP work? Yes. According to our impact evaluations, REAP allows participants to double their household income. Women consistently report that the top benefits of a BOMA business are the ability to buy food for their families, pay for school fees and medical care, and establish a financial safety net through savings, so the family is better-equipped to handle emergencies and survive shocks. To learn how The BOMA Project is changing lives in Northern Kenya, click here.