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What’s in our May 2021 Newsletter: Notes from the Field, Mobile Banking – A Business Game-Changer in Kenya ~ P4P Volunteer Paige Lawson ~ Spring Fundraiser

Your mind is like a bank. What you deposit is what you can withdraw. ~ Warren Buffet

Notes from the Field 

By Nereah Obura, P4P Kenya Program Coordinator

Mobile Banking – A Business Game-Changer in Kenya

Dear P4P Friend,

Imagine not having a personal bank account, a debit card, a credit card or a PayPal account. 

Now imagine you are a small businessperson – let’s say you sell produce in the market or you are a seamstress. How do you handle the cash your business generates? How do you pay your vendors? 

The closest bank is hours away and you don’t have a car but must rely on the mail, or if you need to handle the transaction in person, you’ll travel by bus, taxi or catch a ride on the back of a motorbike. And you will be carrying a large amount of cash on your person.

Enter M-Pesa, a revolutionary company that catapulted Kenya into the modern world of small business finance. M-Pesa (M is for mobile and pesa is Swahili for money) is a mobile, phone-based money transfer service that has given everyone with a cell phone the ability to transfer and receive funds from one account to another. Launched in 2007 by Vodaphone and Safaricom, M-Pesa now has 21 million subscribers and has expanded its network to other African and Middle Eastern countries.

Rose Adhiambo Anyona is one such student, and she has written to tell you how much education means to her.

M-Pesa allows small and medium-sized enterprises to accept instant cashless payments from their customers.   Most shops, chain supermarkets, schools, hostels, hotels, petrol stations and grocers now use Lipa na M-Pesa (pay with M-Pesa), which allows them to pay for larger business transactions such as electricity and water. 

Additional advantages of M-Pesa:

1.    Increased sales - Most banks have integrated their internet or mobile banking with M-pesa enabling customers to purchase whatever is needed, even if they do not have cash.

2.    Better sales records –transactions can be tracked from phones and bookkeeping is easier.

3.    Reduced risk of theft or loss – Businessmen and women no longer carry large amounts of cash, and the Lipa na  M-Pesa has built in security to keep transactions safe.

4.    Convenience - Users can send money to their friends and relatives far away, pay bills and transact business without physically going to another location, saving time and money.

P4P Volunteer Wants to Travel the World
By Reneé Sande, Communications Committee

"I haven’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on my list."

That quote by Susan Sontag could easily be Paige Lawson’s motto. Like most P4P volunteers, she has a serious travel bug.

“I want to travel everywhere. I want to drink a Guinness in Ireland, hike Machu Picchu, eat tapas in Spain, road trip across the U.S. I want to see all the sights, meet all the people, and learn all the history,” Paige says. “I would also love to visit the communities P4P helps one day.”

Born in north Spokane, Paige attended Washington State University where she studied public relations and hospitality business management. This month, she will graduate from Gonzaga with her master’s in communication and leadership. 

Byron Gega volunteers his time as P4P's Board Treasurer

In addition to getting her master’s, Paige works fulltime at Numerica Credit Union in community relations. She was inspired to join the P4P board after hearing about it from former board member, Kendra Jones.

“She continually talked about what a wonderful crew it is and had nothing but praise for the board, volunteers, events – really, everything.”

While Paige hasn’t been to Kenya, she has been to Africa. Six years ago, she and her husband, Dane, volunteered at an elementary school in Moshi, Tanzania, for nine weeks. Paige says it completely  changed their lives.

Byron with wife, Aubri

“We were able to experience a polar opposite way of living than we are used to. It was eye-opening, the kids were inspiring, and we were heart-broken to leave. It was truly an unforgettable, grounding experience.”

Come July, Paige, Dane and their four-year-old Goldendoodle, Murphy, will experience yet another life-changing event when they welcome their first child. 

With so much on her plate, it’s amazing that Paige has any free time. However, she does admit to one guilty pleasure. “The Bachelor/Bachelorette in Paradise is a show I can’t miss.”

Ready to LEARN, WIN and (if you choose) DONATE? 

Spring Forward with P4P and join our annual fundraiser. To play along, be sure to OPEN the daily emails you’ll receive from P4P from May 24 through May 28.

With each email, you’ll click on a link and LEARN about P4P’s programs, then you’ll have an opportunity to DONATE if you choose, and you can enter to WIN a daily prize plus the grand prize. (You do not have to donate to win). Included in each day’s prize and the grand prize are gift cards to local businesses that P4P has purchased to support our friends who have struggled through the pandemic.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 to support our programs in Kenya. Anonymous donors have promised to match donations up to $5,000, so your donation will have even more impact. Come play with us.

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