Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Mary Nyonges lives in Mundindi village, in the rural areas near the western boarder of Kenya. She is a member of the Matungu Community Development Charity (MCDC), which a community organization where people come together to improve their lives and their local economy. (Read about their poultry project!) In this part of Kenya, a majority of people are small-scale farmers. They are working the land, usually not more than one acre, to grow food for themselves and hopefully producing extra to sell.
Mary’s family of seven, with the chickens they received from the MCDC-SIA poultry project.
When Vincent Atitwa, MCDC coordinator, met Mary she did not own a business. However, she did have a dream. Mary’s dream was to one day start a small business to supplement the family farm income. Their farm income was not really enough to feed the family of seven for the full year.
Vincent invited Mary to join MCDC’s table banking program. Table banking is a collective funding method where people meet weekly or monthly and contribute savings and repay loans. The collected amount is shared with other members at low-interest rates and with peer support instead of collateral.
With support from the SIA-supported loan fund, Mary received a $125 loan and business training. She opened a small retail shop on the edge of her home compound.
Helping Out Neighbors
Mary customers are her neighbors. They are people who don’t have enough ready cash to purchase big quantities of things. Instead, they buy things like salt, soap, matches, cooking oil, eggs, and fish in small units on a daily basis.
With the business development loan, Mary was able to purchase full soap bars and cut them into five smaller pieces, which each sell for 20 cents. This is affordable to a majority of her customers, and it is enough for a family to use for 3-4 days. Mary also bought a five gallon container of cooking oil and sells it in units as small as two ounces for as low as ten cents.
Realizing her dream
Mary uses her retail profits to pay school fees and buy books for her five children, who are now all attending the local primary school. “The SIA small loan is a seed that was planted and germinated through my small business, which am now owning and operating,” says Mary. “My dream is being realized.”
Stella, third born in the family, is attending school – the family can now pay for all the school expenses! In this picture, she is eating her lunch of ugali (water and maize flour) with kale. Behind her are the chickens they received through the Matungu Community Development Charity.