The good: Last month was no ordinary month for Kenya, with elections held for every legislative and executive position in the country, and widespread impact on the economy, security and service provision. LivelyHoods decided to suspend operations for the two weeks during this period, to maintain the safety and security of staff and sales agents, and to allow everybody the time to travel to vote, for those who were registered in their ancestral towns. We’re pleased to say that everybody remained safe, and no one was caught up in any disturbances. Upon returning, agents confronted the precarious economic situation with determination, despite having a depleted sales force. What is especially positive is that the average income did not decrease proportionally to the sales revenue, meaning that the 70 agents that were active across the branches were really pulling out all the stops to make up for lost time.
The challenge: The economic uncertainty and disturbances across the country during the month of August are not finished yet, as a rerun of the presidential election has been announced for October. We are therefore expecting that it will be more challenging than expected to hit our sales and training goals for the next few months. Inflation has risen from 6.3% to 8%, and economic growth has slowed to 4.7%, from an average of 5-6% for the past four years. The dip in our sales force is due to several people still remaining in the rural areas, and not returning to the urban centers, where our branches are located. We know that the next couple of months will be an uphill climb for everyone in Kenya, and we’re putting in place extra incentives for sales agents, sales and marketing partnerships with manufacturers, and increased coaching support to mitigate the impact on the income generation potential of LivelyHoods sales agents.