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Our Approach

Patapia is refugee women focused and dedicated to empowering refugees to become successful entrepreneurs by providing a flexible loan product with longer repayment periods. We understand that many refugees face significant barriers in accessing education and employment opportunities, and we believe that entrepreneurship can be a powerful tool for promoting economic self-reliance and reducing dependency on aid.

Patapia Microfinance

1 in 2 refugee households is women-led, who struggle daily to provide the basic needs for their families. With many depending on aid, entrepreneurship provides a possible way out but many lack the skills to start and run their own businesses.


The Patapia Microfinance is a financing vehicle dedicated to empowering refugees to become entrepreneurs. Our loans give refugees the capacity to start high-revenue potential businesses and repay through flexible periods. Repayments allow us to build a movement where refugees are self-sustainable.

And group financing encourages peer support, co-creation and collaboration.

In addition to providing access to funding, we also offer financial literacy and access to savings accounts to help refugees develop the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to succeed as entrepreneurs and prepare for uncertainties. We believe that by providing a comprehensive support package, we can help refugees overcome the barriers they face and achieve their full potential as entrepreneurs and productive members of the community.

Patapia is committed to promoting gender equality and social justice, and we believe that empowering refugees with a focus on the women to become entrepreneurs is an important step toward achieving these goals. We work closely with local communities, NGOs, and government agencies to ensure that our programs are responsive to the needs of refugees and that we are contributing to the broader development goals of the communities where we work.

Digitizing the refugee banking experience

We digitize the banking experience for refugees through cloud-based banking software. A partnership with Ensibuuko, a digital platform to access the services they need.

The software enables women to save, borrow and make deposits anytime, anywhere with even just a feature phone. Learn about the software here

Many refugee entrepreneurs fail due to a lack of a support network and entrepreneurship support. While financing is a critical gap, business development support is a key ingredient to proper repayment.


And this is what we strive towards.

Our programming is designed in two key categories; the Patapia Incubator designed for refugees in business and the Komaa Project for those in agribusiness.

Providing a pipeline for refugee micro-financing

The Patapia Innovation Academy (PIA)

PIA is a carefully designed program aimed at empowering refugees with a focus on women and girls through entrepreneurship. The program is split into two parts: a "Start and Grow your Business" program, a short training course on Small Business (Income Generating Businesses) and a longer incubation program for those who want to start social businesses.

1. "Start and Grow your Business" Program.
This is a one-week training course that covers everything refugee women need to know about generating ideas, business modeling, developing a mini business plan and financial literacy. Each day is focused on a different topic, such as identifying market gaps, developing a unique value proposition, and establishing strategies to get started. The course is particularly tailored to the needs of illiterate refugee women, ensuring that cultural and communication barriers are taken into account and the participants are engaged in a way that is sensitive to their experiences.

2. The Patapia Incubator
This is a 7-months incubation program for refugees who want to establish their own social business. Participants are nurtured by experienced mentors who guide them through the three stages of our empowerment concept:

  • Seed Stage. This is the initial stage and focuses on having scholars develop personality and leadership skills and knowledge. By the end of the stage, scholars will discover their talents and passions, know their purpose and gain the key habits of leaders.

  • Emerging Stage. This is the core ideation process, where participants identify and understand the key problems in their communities and derive innovative ideas to solve those problems. Participants continue to grow personally while testing their ideas and gaining the skills they need to implement their solutions.

  • Concentration Stage. The stage focuses on scholars taking their products/solutions to the market. Through core sessions and mentoring, scholar teams work on establishing a Problem - Solution Fit. By the end of the stage, scholars graduate and are able to run their own businesses.

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The Komaa Project

Komaa is a Kiswahili word that means grow. And growing is what we target for refugee women and girls.

The Patapia Komaa Project empowers refugee women living in refugee settlements by training and financing them to establish communal farms, focusing on incorporating regenerative farming practices and increasing yields.


Agriculture provides better opportunities for the women in the refugee settlements but while this is the case, the women are excluded from fully engaging in agriculture. In the camps, refugees are only given a cultivation plot measuring 50m by 50m, barely enough to produce. In addition, they lack access to inputs and the knowledge to grow more with changing environmental conditions and fair price markets for their produce. Many therefore only grow food for home use and the few that sell only sell to the middlemen giving lower returns and subsequently discouraging many.

The project encompasses several vital steps. Through a community agent network, refugee women create farmer groups. The agents mobilize and the refugee women establish farmer groups that comprise both refugees and members of the host communities. This will not only enhance integration but also encourage interactions with the host community.

The farmer groups receive training and capacity building in various aspects of farming, including crop selection, land preparation, planting, harvesting, and post-harvest handling. Moreover, the women will undergo training in regenerative farming practices such as crop rotation, intercropping, and composting. 

The farmer groups apply for financing from the Patapia Microfinance averaging $500-2000 per group to start a communal farm. The financing will cover the costs of renting land from the host community and purchasing seeds, tools, and other inputs needed for farming. This financing will be offered as a loan for which the women involved will make repayments over time.

Finally, upon harvesting, the farmer groups aggregate harvests and are linked to bulk buyers are fair trade prices. This ensures that the women can grow and sell more, and thus provide sufficiently for their families.

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