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close this bookIt Did Not Happen Overnight: The History of Group-Based Credit Programmes in Kenya (K-REP, 1996, 54 p.)
View the document3.1 Origin and basic elements of group-based lending
View the document3.2 Group-based lending processes
View the document3.3 Kenyan prototype of the Grameen Bank
View the document3.4 Initial reaction of clients and program staff to the method

3.4 Initial reaction of clients and program staff to the method

In most places, potential clients are initially skeptical. Many express a preference for individual loans.

Secondly, most potential clients are suspicious about the idea because it appears too simple to be real.

Some clients misunderstand the objectives of the programmes; a few associating the source of such funds with the government or church. In a few extreme cases, there has been speculation that the funds are being used to lure clients into some mysterious devil-worship cult.

In places, where the public had had bad experiences with similar projects; the response is cautious or even hostile.

The local administration is usually enthusiastic at the beginning, but this enthusiasm wanes when they learn that their role is facilitative rather than implementing.

Among staff, anxiety and fears of being unable to penetrate the community with this new approach can be high. If the implementing agency is unaware of this, productivity can be low and staff turnover high during these initial days. When the anxiety and fears are overcome, initial success in outreach and promotion can cause such excitement that staff members are tempted to ignore the significance of certain key procedures.

The implementing agency may fear that changing one aspect of the design might undermine prospects for realizing goal and often obscure the need to respond to signals of distress from the field.

Given that the primary objectives of implementing group-based credit are to achieve sustainability and reach large numbers of borrowers, the pressure on field staff to reach targets identified in the project document is often too much. Most of this pressure originates from donors or self driven programme motivation to become independent.

Similar organisations using different lending strategies often doubt the credibility or potential of the new approach.