MICRO-LOANS ALONG WITH TRAINING
Most of the orphan caregivers have some small business that produces a little bit of money to put food on the table.
Kijiji Cha Upendo leverages these small businesses by providing micro-loans along with small business management training and mentoring in the use of the micro-loans, livelihood skills workshops and a forum to exchange business tips and best business practices.
Psycho-social support and women’s empowerment meetings also play an important part in enabling the women to make the most of the economic opportunities offered.
90% PAY BACK RATE!
Given the extreme poverty endured by the women who receive the micro-loans, many are surprised to learn that our micro-loan programme has a 90% pay back rate, and that even very small loans result in more food on the table and children in school.
This success rate can be attributed to the training workshops that are provided before a woman receives a micro-loan and the fact that volunteers follow up with each woman to make sure that she is using the loan to the best advantage. Ongoing mentoring and support is provided. Because of the women’s extreme poverty no interest is charged on the loans. The purpose of the loan is purely to increase a woman’s capacity to generate income, not in order to make a profit.
LIVELIHOOD SKILLS WORKSHOPS
All the women can attend workshops in livelihood skills such as soap and basket making. This enables them to add variety to the goods they have for sale, and to generate extra income at minimal cost.
Phanis (featured in the picture at the top of this page) was already offering her new products for sale the day after the workshop. Some customers doubted the soap’s efficacy. However, Phanis urged them to take it and try it for free, telling them if they liked it they could pay her at the end of the week.
They all did!
GARDENS IN A SACK INCREASE INCOME
In an informal settlement like Kibera there is no land for growing food. However, there are tremendous savings to be had, if women can grow their own vegetables.
Kijiji Cha Upendo teaches women how to do this in sacks. Sacks, seed and soil are provided and the women are taught how to nurture these vertical gardens.
A woman living in poverty might spend a third of her meager income on vegetables. To grow her own is therefore a huge saving! In addition, she can sell some of her vegetables to make a little extra income.
The women are being encouraged to save this extra money to grow their micro-loan fund, thus further expanding their small businesses.
BIKE EMPOWERMENT CENTRE EMPLOYS YOUTH
In 2014, Bikes For Humanity Ottawa, shipped 400 refurbished bicycles to Kibera. The container remained to serve as an office and shop.
Six previously unemployed youth were trained in bike repair, small business management and sales. They have found new purpose and focus in life! The Bike Empowerment Centre generated $5,000 that could be used to supplement school fees.
The project would welcome new suppliers of bike shipments.