Our first stop was Mulakha Group. We met at one of the members homes and were greeted with a song and a dance. Bibiana and I were each presented with a garland lei (you know, the shiny stuff for Christmas Trees) and introduced to the members of the group that were present. Mulakha is a registered group with 26 members who meet twice a month. They practice "table banking" whereby (they love saying whereby here) at each meeting every member brings 200 Ksh. That money is put on the table for anyone that may have a need to borrow it. If someone chooses to borrow some or all of the money, they first pay 10% interest and leave that for the group account. They have one month to pay back the full amount of the loan. With the 10% interest from table banking, the group has managed to save 10,000 Ksh.
They started a joint project of keeping poultry. They started with 2 chickens and now have 12 that have just hatched. Some of the challenges they are having are: the feed and treatment for the chickens is expensive. They are hoping if they had a machine to crush the feed, they could make it themselves and sell some as a source of income. They also require a structure to keep the chickens (timber, iron sheets, poles, wire mesh, etc.). And some training in how best to keep poultry along with bookkeeping and business training. They do have very nice uniforms though.
|Bibiana decorated with garland... with Mulakha Group & their chickens|
Of that, 100 Ksh goes to one member to start a small business (selling tomatoes, onions, or small fish in the market), and 50 Ksh goes into a group bank account. Of the members, one is a widow, one is separated with 6 children, and one is has been caring for her sister's child who is an orphan. These women have agreed to make a meal for the two youngest vulnerable children in their group to take to school.
|When we say small business, we mean small.|
Bidii Group has also started keeping poultry, but they doubt that it is viable for them. They each put in 250 Ksh to buy two chickens, and now have 10 chicks (some have died... I couldn't quite get it straight). For poultry to be viable, they will need training and definitely some assistance with a structure and feed. They have managed to save 5,400 Ksh so far.
|10 chickens live here? I think they need a better plan for poultry.|
The next group was a crazy matatu ride away. This group is involved in table banking and poultry (do you see a theme here?). Shikhambi has been a registered group since May 2009. The advantage they have is that their chairman has electricity, so they have a dream for a machine for chick management (I think they were referring to an incubator). They have had project training in how to raise poultry, so from what I could see, they were doing quite well.
I asked about their bank account. The treasurer hesitantly gave the report. In December they had accumulated 11,000 shillings, but "they developed the culture of Christmas eve." They decided as a group that it would be nice if each member could enjoy a nice meal for the festive season, so they divided the money up between the members and had a good Christmas. I can't say that I blame them, but 11,000 shillings would have gone a long way toward purchasing some of the things they would like to grow their business.
|Shikhambi Self Help Group|
|Bibiana (right) with Courageous Women|
Bibiana and I were quite tired by the time we reached this group and I think Bibiana must have been a little grumpy. She fell into Preacher-mode and spoke to the group as if they were school children being scolded by the teacher. When it was my turn to speak, I asked BibianaBibiana's translation lasted well over 5 minutes with lots of animation. "Madam," I interjected, "I don't think you are translating what I said." She assured me she was just driving home my message. Hmmm... somehow, I doubt that.
My favourite part of this stop was chatting with the gentleman of the house, who had recently been hit by a piki piki, and is recovering from a broken hip and collar bone, and playing with the little girl who was quite fascinated with my hair and my skin.
|Highlight of my day!|