In September 2016, Kijiji Cha Upendo was delighted to receive Allan Beverage from village of love Canada; He visited to spend time with the beneficiaries and see the impact of the work the organization does to the well being of the beneficiaries. He also wanted to better understand the problems the beneficiaries and the organization face when implementing programs and also to strengthen the connection with Kijiji Cha Upendo Childrens’s project.
His wife visited Kibera in 2007 and must have have influenced his visit.While visiting the organization, Allan took part in the following key activities in the organization
• Home Visit
• Business visit
• Women Empowerment meeting
• Visit to government office
• Education support
1. Visit to government office
The Programs Ofiicer Leonora Obara, introduced Allan to the local government administration and the Social Development Office. The government provides security to the organizations working in Kibera and set policy on Social Protection and Development. Allan appreciated the important role the government plays in the success of Development Intervention Programs by non government entities.
2. Home visit
Allan joined the KCU staff to some of the homes of beneficiaries. The visit is done regularly by the Social workers and community health volunteers to assess the general condition of the household for the safety of the orphans and vulnerable children. During the visit, the social worker focuses on the nutrition, safe space and other necessary conditions for the wellbeing of the children.
The team visited Wilmina Nangira who is a beneficiary in cluster 2 and Jane Kakai in cluster 3. Allan was impressed by their hard work in business and raising her family. When she joined Kijiji, Wilmina lived in a single room with her children. The family often went without food and children stayed out of school most of time due to lack of school fees. A training she received on business management and the subsequent loan she received from the organization enabled her start and run a vegetable kiosk that has expanded in time. The earnings from the business enabled her to rent an extra room for the children and provide for their basic needs, including education. Wilmina also said that her relationship with the children under her care has improved due to the training she received on OVS’S care and the regular women empowerment meetings where she learns from her fellow caregivers.
Jane Kakai who is a beneficiary in cluster 3 appreciated Kijiji for the business support that enabled her provide for the needs of her household and a safe space for her family. The regular training on OVS’S care has improved her relationship with the children and she appreciated reduced conflict in her house than before joining the program.
Allan appreciated the work the organization was doing to improve the lives of the beneficiaries. He also appreciated and encouraged the caregivers for their effort and resilience in taking care of their families.
3. Business visit
Allan also took part in visiting some of the businesses run by the beneficiaries of Kijiji. These visits are done regularly to check on the performance of the business and also discuss with the beneficiaries the challenges and success they realize in business. The visits help the organization evaluate the effect of business management training done occasionally to the operation of the business by the caregivers.
Sarah Lutta, a beneficiary in cluster one who runs a grocery kiosk in busy Toi market narrated her journey since joining the program. She appreciated the small micro loan available to them since it has enabled her expand the business and provide variety of products to her customers, a fact that has increased the number of her customers hence income. With the profit, she is able to take her children to school, provide meals, pay rent and provide for all her household needs.
Jane Kakai who is a beneficiary in cluster 3 has used the knowledge she learnt and the loan to start and run well a vegetable and water kiosk. Jane started selling water after realizing that together with her neighbours they had hard time fetching water from not so near water vending point. With the income from two businesses, she has improved the condition of her household and kept her children in school.
Finally the team visited the furniture workshop run by Peter and Veronica Magak, a couple in cluster two. Allan was impressed by the high quality furniture Peter was making. Peter revealed that the business provides for the needs of their big family comprising of nine children including orphans under their care.
Allan appreciated the role women play in the livelihood of their families and the community. Some of these households have women as breadwinners while in others they are single mothers who play the role of both parents. He appreciated Kijiji for empowering women to take active roles in their families.
4. Women Economic empowerment meeting
Allan attended Women Empowerment Meeting for that week. These meetings are held by each cluster every fortnight to provide opportunity for caregivers to come together and share their experiences on living with orphans and vulnerable children and their knowledge of how to manage small businesses they run. These sessions also provide opportunity for KCU to share knowledge with the caregivers on coping mechanisms and other relevant issues to their well being.
During the meeting, Allan witnessed a unique support system initiated by women where each member carries a packet of floor, a packet of sugar and bar of soap that is given to two members every meeting to enhance food security in every household. Women also save part of the profit from their respective businesses and share at the end of every year. This money is also borrowed to a member in need at the terms agreed by all hence a sense of financial security.
5. Education support
Finally, Allan also participated in Kijiji education support program. Education support is key thematic area in the organization. Kijiji supports education by enabling the caregivers, through business support, to provide for OVS’Ss educational needs and well being, paying partial school fees to the OVSC’s and carrying out regular visit to the OVC’s in both school and at home to determine their progress.
Allan donated a laptop to and other study materials to Festus Wambua who is in Egerton University to enhance his studies. Kijiji has supported Festus in his education through his caregiver, Everline Mwende, since secondary school. Festus worked hard and performed well which earned him a chance to study Bachelor of Sociology at the university.
Kijiji has 150O children benefiting directly from the program and another 500 benefiting indirectly.