by Rebecca Musanga
The group also face numerous challenges as:
Rebecca Musanga is a member of the Uweza Journalism Club.
by Rebecca Musanga
Rebecca Musanga is a member of the Uweza Journalism Club.
by Thomas Bwire
During her visit to Kenya recently, Amy Auguston, Uweza Foundation's Board Vice President, had a rare opportunity of attending one of the weekly meetings of Kibera Agenda 4 Business Savings. Sitting with the members was very thrilling as they all looked calm.
The attendance was full house and group members, the majority of which were women, sat patiently as the chair of the meeting Mr. Tom Odumo briefed them on the day’s agenda. “First we have an important visitor with us called Amy from the US who is also the Vice president of Uweza Foundation. She is here to learn more about us, so don’t feel intimidated by her presence," says Mr. Odumo.
|From left: Kibera Agenda Program Manager William Moi, Chairman Tom Odumo and Project Coordinator William Ochieng|
A sneak preview was given by Mr. Tom Odumo regarding the aim of the group which targets people of integrity and self commitment to enable their small scale businesses to grow gradually. “Our objective is to uplift our own people so as they can be self sustainable in what they do."
|Kibera Agenda Program Manager William Moi addresses the group|
Members can also apply for a loan, and for one to get a loan, many factors are looked upon like how they have been active and also shown some commitment in repaying earlier loans given to them. This is done through assessment of their progress records on how they have been paying previous loans.
The interesting bit about the loans is that if one fails to repay given loan on time, then a small fee of ksh.4 shillings is collected as a penalty for defaulters. The group also focuses on giving support to struggling members whose businesses are not flourishing as they receive a top up amount to continue with their businesses.
|Agenda member receiving a loan for her business|
However, the group also has a major challenge when some members request huge some of funds, that cannot be given out and this takes a while before they can be given amount requested. In such forums, members are also reminded to keep track of their daily earnings, so as to facilitate proper remittance of records. In her remarks, Amy appreciated the group’s hard work in each one of them and that she was happy to see them all and participate in one of their meetings just to get a better understanding of their operations.
|Kibera Agenda members with Uweza Vice President Amy Auguston|
And just before the meetings adjourns, the secretary takes note of all transactions carried on the meeting day to help keep track and also for safe record keeping.
by Thomas Bwire
Meet Colonia Awino Okello, one of the active members of Kibera Agenda 4 Business Savings group. I had the privilege to pay her a visit at her stall in Olympic estate in Kibera on Thursday afternoon this week.
Upon my arrival at her stall, Colonia welcomed me with a hearty smile. She is outspoken and tells me that she was expecting me for the interview. I get to see the kind of items she sells at her stall, and from the look of things, it’s well stocked with different items ranging from school bags and scarfs to women's handbags, among other items.
In a short while, a male customer appears and I had to excuse myself so she can serve the customer’s need while I stole the few moments to take some photos. The male customer had wanted to purchase one of the hats and in this case, several samples were given out for comparison. “The price ranges between Ksh.80 to Ksh. 100 and just choose the one you want and we can’t fail to agree on what is affordable for you,” noted Colonia.
|Colonia attending to a customer|
Colonia, aged 39 years, shared her success story after she joined Kibera Agenda two and a half years ago. Her passion to start business on her own started 18 years ago at age 21. She had savings that amounted for a period of 3 months where she was working as a cleaner in one of the organizations. After she left the cleaning job, her passion drove her to start a green grocery business where she sold vegetables at Toi market located in Kibera and this lasted 5 years. Later on she moved to selling teddy bears, caps, bags and school uniforms.
|Some of the items Colonia sells|
“How did you come to know about Kibera Agenda?” I posed the question to her. “I knew it through a friend. I went and received my first loan amounting to Ksh.2.000, and you see I was only expected to repay it back by contributing Ksh.200 every Wednesday, and that worked for me”, says Colonia.
From there on, after repaying the first loan, I got another one of Ksh. 5.000 which I repaid with payments of Ksh.500 and the last loan I took was Ksh.10.000." Business is not that bad, and in a normal day Colonia makes Ksh.1.500, but on bad days the much she can make amounts to Ksh.500. One challenging factor is that some of her friends always want to buy some of her stuff on debt, of which she finds it hard to give credit since some don’t want to repay back.
|Colonia at her stall|
On our closing remarks, Colonia informed that she is a single mother and has lived in Kibera for the last 20 years. She has 6 children of her own, the first borne child is 23 years. She also takes care of five orphaned children.
by Thomas Bwire
In a tiny blue room that serves as a classroom at the Uweza center, is a small gathering of both men and women sited in a circular shape as they deliberate on the day’s agenda. Most of the people in today’s meeting are middle aged from a look across the room they are using. Names are read aloud by the youthful secretary to the members present.
“Christine Awour,” goes the secretary as she reads the name aloud. “Am present” the woman sitting in front of the secretary responds by handing over ksh.550 as her contribution. This is the first task undertaken by present members as they give their contributions to the secretary and she jots down against their names to certify that they have given their contribution.
Calling of names takes roughly less than 10 minutes as the entire meeting takes 30 minutes to be precise so as to ensure time is not lost. “Time is money here, we most of us have left their business un – attended and if we waste much time here, then our businesses will go down.” says Mr.Moi.
Meet the Kibera Agenda 4 group, one of the unique entrepreneurship groups that aims to empower women and men in the Kibera community through personal contributions from their savings to boost their small scale businesses.
The group members all engage in different businesses as source of income, to help empower them and earn a source of livelihood, ranging from selling vegetables, second hand clothes, to washing cars.
Colonia Awino is one of the active members, and noted that she is happy to be part of the group which can easily give loans to its members and won’t give her head ache when repaying. Being in the group also helps her to open up to new ideas.
Another lady is Josephine Achieng joined the group last year and was able to benefit from a loan to boost her business. "Hard work and focus is all that is needed when you are working as a business person" says Achieng.
Although the majority of the members are women, a few men can easily be noticed sitting amidst them. One such person is William Abuto. William is among thousands of the 2007-2008 post election violence victims after his only source of income went into flames, he used owned a small shop known as a kiosk within Kibera slums. His only savior in time of need was Kibera Agenda 4 Group whom gave him a loan to kick start his kiosk business, and now he sells electrical appliances.
In our next week's blog, we shall update you with an interview with the group's chairman Tom Odumo on what this group has achieved and also challenges that they encounter in the course of their engagement.
by William Ochieng
This week has been tremendously busy for me in my work schedule moving up and down. As the Kibera Agenda were closing their end of the year savings and loaning, I have been involved in preparation of their financial statement and presented it to each member during the closure. The group members scrutinized their savings and were satisfy with the figures I presented to them yesterday. Otherwise it was okay and splendid day and recommended for the effort of updating it.
Apart from that, Moi and I have designed a center membership card for children to enable them next year access the community center programs and they looked nice.
As the center prepares to wind up its operations next week I wish you and the Uweza Foundation a Merry Chrismas and a splendid Happy New year 2012 .
William is studying community development at The Kenya Polytechnic University College in Nairobi and has been interning with Uweza since October. Read his first blog entry here, his second blog entry here, and his third blog entry here.
by William Ochieng
During the past week William Moi (Uweza Program Manager), Mathew (Uweza Sponsorship Coordinator) and I went for home visits for children under the sponsorship program. We encountered various challenges on the way like poor drainage leading to children homes and bad weather i.e alot of mud on the corridor. At the home visits i took photographs of children at their homes. At last, we managed the tasks and completed the work and it was successful.
I have also been involved in preparation of financial statement of Kibera Agenda as they wind up their activities this year. I also have doing some office work like scanning of documents
William is studying community development at The Kenya Polytechnic University College in Nairobi and has been interning with Uweza since October.
The week has been very busy to me and I have learned a lot of things.
First of all, I met parents at the office to fill the sponsorship forms for those who were absent during the meeting. They came in a good number and we served them diligently. From the parents perspective as they talked they want to see their sons and daughters to have a better life in future and its through education that they can achieve their goals, thus education is vital in the society.
I have also started taking pictures for membership cards for children registered in the center which will be updated in the course of time. This will enable faster tracing of the child's background.
Also we went to Ishankai Medical Group with fellow staff and we were briefed by the Doctor on what was required. From the briefing I got, I learned that a child’s health is more important and can help them excel in the classroom. Through better medical health care, children are free from diseases which can hinder their education.
I have been helping other fellow staff member Mathew with the sorting of Sponsorship files so as to speed the flow of work for the organization in meeting its objectives. I also accompanied Mathew to the Chemist to sign contract for purchase of drugs.
I have made sure that the records of Kibera Agenda 4 Business Savings are computerized to enable easy tracking of documents to ensurer fast flow of their activities without much hesitation. My ambition for Agenda is to see it grow from small to big entrepreneurs and be recognized in the country.
Also I have been involved in helping Agenda to track loans held by the members that are due. Through repayment of loans, other people can borrow and uplift their fellow human beings to boost their standard of living.
William is studying community development at The Kenya Polytechnic University College in Nairobi and has been interning with Uweza since October. Read his first blog entry here.
William Ochieng, is a Kenyan college student, studying Community Development at The Kenya Polytechnic University College in Nairobi. As part of his studies, he must complete an internship with an organization working on community development.
William started interning with Uweza two weeks ago. We have been doing our best to keep him busy with interesting work and he has been a big help to us. As part of the internship, he will be writing weekly blog posts detailing his work and what he is learning.
Feel free to leave any questions, comments, or words of encouragement for William in the comments section!
It has been a busy schedule for the last 2 weeks at Uweza Foundation. I have been able to interact with Kibera Agenda 4 Business Savings group members. It comprises of persons with integrity who are business oriented. The group deals with savings and loaning of funds to the group members. It is through loaning and savings that they are able to uplift their level of living standards through businesses to a comfortable life. In the group activities I was involved in calculating the total savings each person has saved and total loan given out.
I also met the parents of the sponsored children in the Uweza Sponsorship Program. The staff of the organization emphasized on the cleanliness of the children sponsored by the organization when going to school. When the children are clean, they perform well in class and help the organization get a good reputation in the society at large. At the meeting I took minutes of the agenda which was a bit hectic because I couldn't memorize the parent's children's names.
During the Uweza Football team party, I took some photographs which was a fantastic day. The team was position 1 at the Amani tournament. Also I did some office work like arranging and filing of documents.
I have learned a lot of many things in the organization. First of all, people should join hands to form a large pool of resources in the Kibera microfinance through the Kibera Agenda 4 Business Savings to facilitate in the actualization of its dream.
Second, the organization is working to its level best to uplift the status of children by offering evening tuitions. This enables the children to ask questions to their tutors about what they didn't understand in the classroom.
There is also a good working relationship among the Uweza staff as all of them give time to express their news.
The organization responds immediately without hesitation to child's health and tuition fees. This is taking the child to hospital/chemist for medication.
I have also learned that children need to be given time to realize their talents through soccer and activities like drawing.