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Strength of a Woman

Kalawani CBO is located in Kalawani location in Mbooni west sub-county in Makueni County. The area fall in the arid and semi arid lands of Kenya that is normally characterized with low, erratic and unreliable rainfall.  The annual rainfall ranges between 500-1050 mm with 40% reliability. The long rains come in April/May and short rains in November/December. The period falling between June - September and January - March is usually dry. Due to limited, erratic and unreliable rainfall coupled with high evaporation rates, surface water sources don’t last for long.

ADS-Eastern conducted a Baseline Survey in Kalawani in September 2011 and the results indicated that there is a strong correlation between poverty and hunger. It further indicated that 87.9% of the households are food insecure and 85% of these are poor. They suffer from perennial severe hunger and mostly depend on relief food to meet their daily dietary needs while others suffer transitory and seasonal undernourishment due to unreliable rainfall and weather patterns. The survey also indicated that the major constraints faced by the households engaged in crop production and livestock included marketing challenges, poor access to inputs, and low productivity to unfavorable weather and rain patterns due to aridity of the Area.

The majority of the household heads were married though the men stay away in the urban centers either seeking employment or are in employment and occasionally come back home to visit the family. This phenomenon has resulted in a heavy burden on the women who are faced with the challenge to feed the family and they bear the brunt of malnutrition. About 70% of women suffer chronic hunger given their triple gender roles. They also suffer social exclusions due to the heavy patriarchal system while they are key in labor provision. Community development work in these areas is done basically by women as they are the majority that form and participate in groups. When working with the CBO/Groups, we are basically working with the majority who are women and who has to wrestle with a major challenge of their unequal participation at the decision making levels as men make key decisions.

VSL is done majorly to strengthen the livelihoods of people; basically aiming for the poorest of the poor.  Individuals come together based on their economic status, form a group and they start saving. Through ADS-Eastern intervention, several trainings in Kalawani Location on Village Savings and Loaning schemes, 6 groups were initially trained in May 2013 but now due its importance 23 more groups have being formed. All members are governed by a constitution with each member understanding and having a copy of it. The groups are strict in their sessions and attendance. There is a chairperson, 3 key holders, secretary and a money counter in all the groups. They all save the little money they get and contribute for social fund every week and the fourth week of every month they loan out the money. The social fund is returned with no interest and should be repaid within a certain period of time but the loaned money is returned with 10% interest. The social fund helps the group members in emergency like diseases and school fees. They all meet in specific days.

“Before, I used to stay in this house with my family. Neighbors, used to gossip us because we all spent were our children spent. It was a big challenge for us especially during the rains, whereby we were woken up by pools of water in the house due to weak roofing. My children were always sick because of the coldness due to lack of windows and a good door”“Before, I used to stay in this house with my family. Neighbors, used to gossip us because we all spent were our children spent. It was a big challenge for us especially during the rains, whereby we were woken up by pools of water in the house due to weak roofing. My children were always sick because of the coldness due to lack of windows and a good door”Mrs. Naomi Mutuva is one of the members in Kinyuani A VSL. She is 50 years old and married to Munyoki Nzyoki, blessed with six children namely; Faith, Samuel, Musau, Mwende, Muthoka and Mbithe . They live in Kinyuani village, Kalawani Sub-location in Mbooni  West Sub-County in Makueni County. Over the past years Naomi did not save any money either in banks or saving groups or in micro finance branches around. Through village savings and Loaning schemes, she has being able to start savings the small amount he gets from casual labor and farming.

When the group started in May 2013, she settled a goal of constructing a house because they lived in a single room. First loan, she got 400 shillings were by she bought food, secondly she got a loan of 3,500 where she started organizing for brick making for her new house. Next, she received a loan of 4,000 where she organized for the bricks to be burned to make them fine for construction through buying firewood and paying labor. She later saved well and got a loan of 7,000 where she paid masons for construction and the husband bought cement. Lastly she got a loan of 10,000 whereby she bought iron sheets, windows and cement for the house. For now I have a total savings of 18,900 whereby the group has a total savings of 308,000.

This is Naomi’s house.  She is planning to finish it then after round two of VSL again in their group to extend the house for her big children.This is Naomi’s house. She is planning to finish it then after round two of VSL again in their group to extend the house for her big children.Am happy because my husband has started to appreciate my effort, this is through cost sharing in constructing our house which we never thought we could have finance to have it.  We are almost finishing it and am expecting after the share out process for our group which is in May I will be able to buy doors and cement for plastering the house.

Generally VSL is a good initiative to women like us because we feel empowered and we can afford to have banks at our homes. This motivates us so much, because we are able to save as little as fifty shillings which compared to banking institutions they are much better and minimum is 200.

 

 

 

 

 

TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH VSL

Insufficient capacity building has led to many of people not be capable of meeting their needs or struggle in meeting them. Capacity building refers to the process of empowering and strengthening people to a place where they can deal with their problems themselves. It involves people identifying their strengths and weakness in regard to the developing and improving their lives either socially, economically  and all other aspects of live and this is how VSL come  about to help us improve their economic status. VSL is abbreviation which refers to Village savings and loaning schemes is an initiative for women economic empowerment. ADS –Eastern came with this aspect of training people and imparting knowledge, skills and opened our eyes to change attitudes to determine our own destiny in development using our own strength since they made us understand we have the solution to our economic problems which we identified as a community as the most pressing one in the last years and we prioritized it  and we were  able to understand that we are able to mobilize our resources.

Agnes Muteti  is one of the direct benefit of  the VSL and her husband name is Boniface Muteti and am 42 years old and we are blessed with four children namely Wambua,Theresia,Mutisya and Katulu who are in both primary secondary and college. Am a member of Kalumu A village and savings loaning skills. Before this training was brought by the ads eastern I never thought a whether a village woman would make saving and have some property without a bank loan whereby we feared since we had an experience from some of the local banks that they gave women money and later came they came and took away the property including even removing the iron sheet among others I can remember very well at one point one point I was one of the members of one of them and had took a loan of 5000 and since the training was insufficient and no wher to invest the money I went and bought  clothes for my family and nice food that is chapatti and meat  for one week and the money was over. After one month they came and carried my two goats which I had bougtht with casual jobs which I had been doing and I felt very down compared with the banks VSL gives us three one to three months so as to start repaying but the bank was immediately.

I have being a farmer all through and was a member of a merry go round whereby weekly we contributed 100 shillings in which we gave one person per week. It was no sustainable because some people could refuse to pay your money which you had planned for.

Currently, I have a total saving of 21,500 at Kalumu A VSL and every Monday we contribute 10 shillings for social fund. The group has a total savings of 300,000 and a social fund of 15,000 whereby the social fund is returned with no interest.

Initially, I took a loan of 300, whereby the empowerment was not high because we just bought food. Through an extensive training from ADS-EASTERN,I had a plan to buy a cow at a cost of 30,000,. Secondly I took a loan of 10,000 where I paid the first deposit of the cow. I again took a loan of 20,000 where I finished paying for the cow. When I bought the cow, I was able to milk it daily because it had given birth. Per day I used to get 3 litres in trhe morning and 2 in the afternoon whereby I sold 4 litres per day at 50 shillings per litre and left the rest of litre for the family. Through this I was able to make income and nutrition in my family increased. By selling the milk am able to repay the loan as we will be sharing out by next month. I hae also bought fodder feeds for the cow because of the dry spell which is near. I get veterinary services and I still use the same money to pay them. I do dipping weekly. I have used one thousand shillings for artificial insemination from the VSL

The main challenge which we meet as a group is that some members take long to refund or start refunding and after some months they relax. This has made the group to have tougher rules and conditions that interest has been increased thus making most of the members to abide to the repaying periods.

Another challenge is that  fines are not taken up to latter for  now some members fines have not be taken and this brings conflicts among the members that some people are been favored. To curb this the chairperson has become more strict to all members.

Lessons learnt from the VSL is that even the village women can have home banking ewher every one feels part and parcel and the interests are low thus making every one take the loans and thus bringing suistainability in that all allowed to take loans and also the repayment period is so comfortable that I even invest in the farm.

 

Increased income through VSL and good agricultural practices

Mr. Benson Wambua is one of the members in Mumbuni VSL. He is 43 years old and married to Grace Wambua, blessed with three children namely; Musau, Mutiso and Ndanu. They live in Kanoto village, Yandue Sub-location in Mbooni Sub-County in Makueni County. Over the past years Benson did not save any money either in banks or saving groups or in micro finance branches around. Through village savings and Loaning schemes, he has being able to start savings the small amount he gets from casual labour.

 When the group started in June 2013, he managed to save 4500 shillings for four times. He requested a loan of 2,000 shillings whereby he used that amount to prepare his small farm and buying inputs to plant vegetables. After repaying that loan, he was able to get another loan of four thousand shillings. He used the money to buy seeds for spinach, Dania and sukuma wiki. Through different trainings done by UCCS, government and other stakeholders on agri-business he set the notion of farm work as his daily business. He managed to set a small portion of planting spinach. The spinach are now doing good and selling at a nearby market locally. So far for two weeks he has being able to get 5,060 shillings. The money he gets from the farm, a portion is set for saving and the other money for domestic use at home. He says that “I hope by the end of the year I will have saved enough to enable me to buy a bigger land for planting vegetables for selling to larger markets and hotels’’.

To the left is Benson while harvesting spinach for sale and to the right is Dania in his farmTo the left is Benson while harvesting spinach for sale and to the right is Dania in his farm

 

 

 

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