Tap and Reposition Youth (TRY): providing social support, savings, and microcredit opportunities for young women in areas with high HIV prevalence

Tap and Reposition Youth (TRY): providing social support, savings, and microcredit opportunities for young women in areas with high HIV prevalence

Successes of a gender-based microcredit programme in urban Kenya

Tap and Reposition Youth (TRY) is a multiphase initiative whose overall aim is to reduce adolescents' vulnerabilities to adverse social and reproductive health outcomes, including HIV infection, by improving their livelihoods options. The project operates in low-income and slum areas of Nairobi, Kenya, where rates of HIV infection are high and where young women are disproportionately affected. The project involves the provision of credit to the particular needs of its vulnerable clientele. This report provides an evaluation of the first four phases of the project, and recommends some ways ahead for its future.

Some points regarding the project's successes and failures include:

  • TRY has had a substantial impact on girls' earnings and savings - TRY girls are significantly more likely than girls in the control sample to have savings
  • although more likely to have savings, the amount of their savings is significantly less than that of the control savers
  • older TRY participants are much more likely than younger girls to have greater numbers of household assets, larger incomes, and greater savings - they are more likely to keep their savings in a financial institution
  • TRY participants were not more knowledgeable than girls in the control sample about reproductive health issues - but they seemed better able to negotiate sexual relationships
  • TRY girls are more likely than girls in the control sample to be able to insist on condom use and to refuse sex
  • TRY's repayment rates were lower than standard - a result of the programme's experimental nature and its focus on learning the best strategic approach and livelihood interventions
  • although the programme may not reach operational sustainability, its cost-effectiveness in terms of achieving these benefits is likely to be higher than that of other initiatives for young people.

The report suggests some ways future programmes can be enhanced:

  • the interplay between girls' personal situations - the instability of their living arrangements and personal relationships - dictates the need for great flexibility in programs designed to serve them
  • providing girls with savings accounts, passbooks, and identity cards has profound symbolic meaning for them beyond financial security - it validates girls' personal identity and encourages their growth
  • a conscious, tiered training strategy teaching financial literacy can help to prepare young people for effective future use of banking services

[adapted from author]

  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.