A group photo of the members of the Matungu Community Development Charity in Kakamega County, Kenya. Vincent Atitwa sits on Tanya’s right. (June, 2017)
Every six months we check in with our grassroots grant partners to ask how their programs are going and how they are impacting their members. We like to hear about their challenges as well as their successes, and about how they are reinvesting to make their programs sustainable outside of SIA’s funding. Today, I am sharing this wonderful report from the Matungu Community Development Charity in Mumias, Kenya. They received a Community Grant from Spirit in Action in May and I visited them in June and got to see them collect their weekly dues for the table banking cooperative.
The following report is from group leader, Vincent Atitwa:
Vincent Atitwa, the gracious leader of the Matungu Community Development Charity
The approved purpose of the grant: We will start a table banking and a collective poultry project. Our project is empowering small-scale farmers by helping them to improve farming practices and gain access to credit and financing.
Estimate the number of people who have benefited from this project: 20 members benefited directly and 80 members benefited indirectly as family members and friends.
Our biggest success has been:
We were able to construct poultry house/ structure that can a accommodate 300 birds
Purchased 250 poultry birds for the project. We also bought chicken feed, feeding and water troughs and vaccines
Disbursed 15 small loans to 15 group members, each getting 12,500 Kenyan Shillings ($121)
Chicks collectively reared by the members of the cooperative raise funds for low-interest micro-loans.
Our biggest problem has been: We have not yet been able to register our intended savings and loaning cooperative. The registrar of societies suggested we register either a company or multi-purpose cooperative since we are also running the poultry business.
Has profit been used to reinvest back into the project? Yes, by purchasing more 30 birds that were given to 5 more new group members.
How have you been able to participate in Sharing the Gift? We were able to purchase and pass a gift of 10 birds to 2 elderly women who are caring for orphans.
Please explain how this project has affected you and others involved. Have you seen changes in your community? This project has impacted positively on our group members’ lives. Before, some lacked money to start their own small businesses and now at least 15 members are comfortably running and operating their small business ranging from: farming of maize, growing and selling of local vegetable, horticulture, selling of cereals, and tailoring.
Profits made from these businesses are being used to buy books, uniforms and even other basic needs for the beneficiaries’ children. For example, Judith Were, a single mother who operates a tailoring shop, used the loan funds to expand her tailoring business through purchasing more garments and material stock. Judith reports, “This coming festive season around Christmas, I am prepared to do more work. I hope to realize good profits now that I have enough material in stock.”
Judith Were in her tailoring shop. She used her loan to buy more material to make dresses for the holiday season!
What have you learned from this process of project implementation? I have learned that sometimes when people (especially our group members), are supported with unconditional small loans they tend to work hard and make good profits. This is much less stressful compared to working and using loans borrowed from cooperate banks/institutions with strings attached on it. With SIA-supported unconditional small loans, members become custodian of their own funds.
Tanya displays a dress made by Judith Were. Judith tells her story, “I run a boutique. I have a shop, and I am a tailor. I make colorful dresses and skirts.”