WE FOCUS OUR EFFORTS ON WOMEN
WHY DO WE FOCUS ON WOMEN?
Firstly, in Kenyan society, women have the burden of care for children. When we enhance their capacity to generate income, the extra funds are most likely to be used to benefit the children in terms of food and schooling.
Secondly, women drive the economy. In Kibera 75% of small businesses are run by women.
Thirdly, women know how to save. As a result, loans are repaid and are effective in generating extra income for the family needs.
Most of the women have a small business through which they can generate a few dollars to feed their children. If they do not have this, or to supplement what they are already doing, Kijiji Cha Upendo offers some training in a livelihood.
In addition, all the women receive an interest free micro-loan along with a small business management training workshop. Within three days of the workshop they receive a volunteer visit to help them apply what they have learned.
As groups of five they support one another in paying back their loans.
VOICES AS WOMEN. The women attend bi-weekly women’s empowerment meetings where they participate in workshops on nutrition, children’s rights, gender equality, HIV/AIDS prevention, and parenting children who are orphaned and may be HIV positive. They share business and parenting tips, are encouraged to discuss issues, do their own research, offer presentations and basically find their voices as women.
PSYCHO SOCIAL counseling is offered to enable the women to better deal with the extremities they find themselves in.
LEADERSHIP ROLE MODELS. Women who are HIV positive act as role models empowering women with HIV to live positively.
ONE WOMAN’S SUCCESS STORY
Everlyn Mwende cares for four children including two orphans. She used to brew alcohol in her home and was in constant trouble with the police and her neighbours! She tried instead to generate money through knitting rastafarian hats. It was at this stage that she was invited to join Kijiji Cha Upendo and given a small loan. Repaying it quickly, she has borrowed and repaid loans many times since. An excellent entrepreneur, Ms Mwende has developed a thriving tuckshop. A regular attendee of women’s empowerment meetings, not only is Ms Mwende no longer a pariah in the neighbourhood, but she has become a community spokesperson, representing community needs to government officials. Younger women look up to her as a role model. She has kept her children in school, the eldest boy scoring well enough in his final exams to qualify for law school.