BENTA OTIENO, Deputy Chairlady, Shiners Women?s Group
The film showed us that we can really come together more! We already do ? in case one member has a crisis in her family, we all come together to help her. For that reason, every time we meet to transact our money, each of us puts some aside into the Social Fund for such crises. Apart from that, we also participate in other initiatives together. At one point, with CARE?s help, we went around our slum neighbourhoods to make sure that our members and their communities have proper water, toilets, sanitation and environmental facilities. When we find there is a problem with these services, we as the women go to the municipal council to discuss the way forward to change this situation. Sometimes we even come together as women leaders in our churches. But most often, when we have these issues and we are looking for solutions, we go to CARE Kenya first.
Apart from all this, we are part of the Homa Bay Top Ten ? a consortium of the GSLs in Homa Bay that come together that discuss various community issues, and the GSL methodologies. We use this avenue to also bring change in our communities. In fact, some of our members are also the leaders (Secretary, Treasurer) in the Homa Bay Top Ten. This initiative of bringing all the groups together was our own ? the women themselves. Being empowered, we did not have to go to CARE or anyone else to ask for assistance on this.
BENTA ACHIENG OGEMBO, Member, Shiners Women?s Group, Homa Bay
My husband died a few years ago, and I was left to take care of his business. He had taught me how to make the things he used to sell ? the jikos (charcoal stoves), metal suitcases, and other metal items. I got some money from the group savings and loans scheme, which I invested in this business to make it better.
Many ask me why I would do this job, which is traditionally a man?s job, but I am empowered, so I can do it as well as a man can! I now even employ a metal smith to help me! He moulds everything, I paint, and I sell! I have even built my own home, and I have sheep.
FLORENCE AKOTH OSETH, Member, Kinda Ket Chunyi Group, Nyalenda Informal Settlements, Kisumu
I joined Kinda two years ago, when the group was still practicing merry-go-rounds. This methodology involves people saving their money, but only being able to collect it when their turn comes, which could be even one year down the line! CARE came in and showed us a better way, where anyone can get money at any time! So we are able to go on and build our businesses. I have been able to pay my kids? school fees now, all in advance! I have already paid the 10,000shs. I have become very confident! I am now also the deputy leader of my church youth group. While I work here in town, my farm is being improved, and I have food security now because of that! And best of all, CARE?s wPower project came in with the jiko tosha, which has made me so happy!
The improved jiko makes me save so much money! Previously, I used to spend 100shs to buy the coal every day for my business, where I cook food at my little stall. Ever since I got the jiko, I only spend about 30shs a day on coal to cook the same amount of food! I can save that extra 70shs every day now! People in the neighbourhood are also curious ? they want to know where to get the same cook stove! People always ask me how I am able to maintain my business, and I have only one thing to tell them - It is very important for a woman to be self-empowered! I am so very grateful to CARE for all this!
JACOB, Member, Kinda Ket Chunyi Group, Nyalenda Informal Settlements, Kisumu
I just got a Jiko Tosha cook stove a month ago. I used to spend 100shs every day for charcoal to cook food in our home. Today, I only spend 30shs for the charcoal, and am able to save the rest in the group savings and loans scheme. The more I save the bigger loan I can take! According to me, empowering women improves the life standards of our entire family!