Joyful Women’s Organization FAQs


What is the Joyful Women’s Organization?

The Joyful Women’s Organization (JOYWO) is a Kenyan non-governmental organization (NGO) that aims to empower Kenyan women. JOYWO focuses on supporting women who are engaged in livelihood projects which help them improve their food security while increasing their income at the same time. Projects range from poultry farming to passion fruit growing and horticulture. The organization also helps fund greenhouses for women and is running a pilot ‘open air irrigation’ project. In addition to these livelihood projects, JOYWO helps women build their entrepreneurial and business skills by running training sessions which have resulted in women diversifying their agricultural production.

JOYWO’s main project, however, is table banking, which allows their group members to save and borrower as a group. JOYWO is currently running table banking groups in 43 Kenyan counties with over 12,000 groups.

What is table banking?

Table banking is a group funding method where members save and borrow directly from their savings in either short-term or long-term loans. This process is done on and around a table, hence the name, “table banking.” Each table banking group meets once a month and at this meeting members place their savings and loan repayments on a table. Members are then able to borrow money from one another as either a short-term or long-term loan to help fund their livelihood projects. 

How are JOYWO table banking groups structured?

Each JOYWO group has between 10 to 30 members and a chairlady who is in charge of the group. During their monthly table banking meeting, the group collects outstanding funds from members who’ve taken out loans from the group, and then, with the group’s savings, makes loans to other members of the group.

If JOYWO’s mission is to empower women, why do some groups have male members?

While JOYWO’s focus is on supporting and empowering women, given the high demand from men in the community to be involved in table banking groups, JOYWO began allowing men to be a part of their groups. Most groups consist of only women members, and no group can have more men than women. Also, male members cannot act as the “chairlady” of the group. 

Why did Kiva Zip decide to work with JOYWO groups?

Kiva Zip began working with JOYWO groups in August 2014. We believe JOYWO table banking groups are suitable recipients for Kiva Zip loans because they have their own savings, meet frequently and are business-focused. More importantly, as a group, they know and support each other, and provide the social capital that is core to the Kiva Zip model. JOYWO also sends its Program Officers to facilitate the table banking meetings and help ensure that the group members are paying back their loans.

If JOYWO table banking groups are already borrowing from one another, why do they need capital from Kiva Zip lenders?

With JOYWO table banking groups, members are able to borrower directly from the savings of other group members. Oftentimes the amount available to members is only enough for one group member to take a loan out at a time. This is where Kiva Zip steps in. By borrowing additional capital through Kiva Zip, these groups are able to have access to more funds, which enables more group members to borrower and save simultaneously.

How does JOYWO decide which groups to post to Kiva Zip?

JOYWO Program Officers nominate well-performing table banking groups for Kiva Zip loans, based on the group’s savings amount, the members’ on-time payment record (with the group’s own money) and the length of time that they have conducted table banking with JOYWO. The group then nominates one of the group officials (mostly the chairlady) to act as a trustee to endorse the borrowers.

Given the maximum number of borrowers a first-time trustee can endorse on Kiva Zip is 10, the first 10 members of the groups apply for loans through Kiva Zip, each at 10,000 Ksh. JOYWO Program Officers post these as individual loans to the Kiva Zip website, with the chairlady listed as the trustee.

Once all group members’ loans fully fundraise on the Kiva Zip website, the loans are disbursed to the borrowers. At the next table banking meeting, these 10 borrowers put their Kiva Zip loan funds on the table and all the members of the group are able to borrow from this pool, including the chairlady who’s acted as the group’s trustee. 

How are Kiva Zip loans disbursed to JOYWO borrowers?

While JOYWO loans are listed on Kiva Zip as individual loans, given the table banking model Kiva Zip waits for all the borrowers endorsed by one trustee to be fully fundraised before the money is disbursed, so that the group members can access the money at the same time. Occasionally, this means that fully funded borrowers must wait to receive their loan until all the other members of the JOYWO group are also fully funded.

How much can JOYWO group members borrow on Kiva Zip?

First time Kiva Zip Kenya borrowers can take out a maximum loan of 10,000 Ksh. With 10 JOYWO group members borrowing through Kiva Zip, each JOYWO table group can borrow up to 100,000 Ksh (10 borrowers x 10 Kiva loans at 10,000 Ksh = 100,000 Ksh) on their first loan. This amount, once fully raised on Kiva Zip, is disbursed to borrowers and taken to the table banking group where all members of the group can borrow from one another.

Once that group has successfully repaid their first round of Kiva Zip loans, they may be eligible to take out larger loans through Kiva Zip. Trustees (in this case the chairlady of the group) would graduate out of pilot trustee status and be able to endorse up to 20 borrowers (or fellow table banking group members) for loans. As with all loans on Kiva Zip, first time borrowers can receive up to 10,000 Ksh, whereas second time borrowers are able to borrow up to 20,000 Ksh per person.

With each successful loan that is repaid on Kiva Zip, the borrower is able to access a higher level of capital, should they take out a subsequent loan. For more information about loan amounts on Kiva Zip, click here.