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Gender and Women Empowerment

The empowerment of women is of paramount importance in gender equality. It is aimed at bringing out the full potential in women while promoting their self worth.  

Women are an important pillar in matters of community development and the well being of families. In line with Sustainable Development Goal # 5, Fadhili promotes inclusivity of women both at the family and community level. Both men and women are involved in creating dialogues that enhance communication, promote balanced workload and conflict resolution. Fadhili is focused on Strengthening women leadership and decision-making skills as well as their participation in development activities. 

John

We have been supporting John since Class 3 at public school. His mother was part of a health project we were involved with at the time and John performed well enough to secure a place in the Watoto Wetu project.

When John was in Form 1, he took Judo lessons to learn self-defense. The lessons were being offered for free at a Catholic church near his home. With time, he realized that he enjoyed Judo and started playing competitively. As a result, he has represented Kenya in nine different countries for the last six years.

In June 2019, John graduated with a Diploma in Information Technology from Jomo Kenyatta University and is began a new chapter in his life. He continues to work at Judo, experiencing continued success, and hopes to land meaningful employment soon so he can support his mother who is often sick.

Thanks to the support of the Watoto Wetu project and generous donors, John is currently independent and is able to pay bills for himself and his mother.

Vallary

Vallary is 17 years old and the third born in a family of seven children with a single mother. Her father died in floods five years ago, but while he was alive, he caused the family a lot of misery by physically abusing her mother and caring only for his own needs. Vallary’s mother taught herself cobbling skills to provide for her family.

Vallary is in Form 3 at Limuru Girls National High School. She was the best performer in Class 8 with a score of 395 out of 500 and remains in the top 25 of a class of over 300 students. Vallary aspires to be a lawyer and will, no doubt, go far with God’s guidance.

Vallary’s school fees are $960 USD per year.

Kiio’s Story

In the rural areas of Kenya, men do not have a good reputation as many move to cities to find work, spend most of their pay and send little or nothing back to their families. Others go so far as to marry other women and have a second family in the city.

With experience, Fadhili has found the savings groups work well if, of the five officers (chairperson, box keeper, secretary and two counters), only one can be male. In a group of women, males tend to dominate so this restriction keeps the balance.

It takes a lot of courage for a man to join a women’s savings group. Men who associate in public with females are considered “sissies” and ridiculed. Fortunately a few brave men are changing this.

Kiio Kitiko is one of those brave men. What follows is a transcript of an interview some Fadhili supporters conducted with him.

Tell us about your family? – I am married, a father of two, a girl and a boy. My girl is in Form 1 and my boy is in class 8.

Tell us about your life before you joined the VSL group. – Before joining the group, I had two tanks. I would fetch water and sell it but I used the money in ways that were not beneficial to the family.

Since I have joined the group, now the money I am getting I am saving in the group. When I first started saving, I saved 2000 shillings, got a loan (from the group) and bought 5 chickens. I can also get a loan for 500 shillings to buy food for the chickens.

What do you do with the chickens? – I sell meat and eggs. I sold 8 chickens this Christmas and now I am raising chicks of my own.

How does your wife feel about you being in the group? – (He laughs) My wife is happy because she is a green grocer (has her own grocery business) and we share the loans.

Why did you join the group? – I saw it was a good group to help me with savings and my money is secure.

How did you feel about joining a group of women? – (He laughs) I was afraid to join but it has been a good place for me.

What are your goals for the future? – I want to expand my poultry business to 100 chickens by the end of this year.

What do you want to tell our people about your story? – When you go back home, you tell your people we are grateful for the work you (through Tearfund and Fadhili Trust) have done for us. Tell them the people are “able”, because they have started some businesses and their families are stable.

Brian

Brian is the fourth born in his family. A former street boy and pick-pocket headed for delinquency, he is now reformed due to the mercy of God through the Watoto Wetu program.

Brian attends Kitengela Boarding Primary School where he is in Class 6. He has shown great improvement going from a non-performer to being in the top three of his class. The school administration is already grooming him for the post of President when he gets to Class 7. A natural born leader!

Brian’s school fees and upkeep cost $395 USD per year.

Josephine’s Story

Josephine Kasipa is the chairperson of the Kiuani Village Savings and Loan (VSL) group. Kiuani means Fruit of the Tree because there is a large tree bearing lots of fruit on the property where the group meets. The tree could be a metaphor for the productivity of the group. While only in its second year, the group’s members are able to do so much more than they could before.

Despite her young looks, Josephine and her husband Masila have five children, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren. For a very long time Josephine relied on her husband to take care of the family financially. Masila was a casual laborer, so his income was inconsistent. Masila is now older and retired. So when it came time to pay for their youngest son’s college education Josephine needed to take out a loan. She went to a micro-finance group which charges 20% interest on loans. After she had finished paying off the loan she heard about VSL groups and was excited because the interest rates were so much better at 10% and profits are returned to the members. She decided to join a group.

When she gets money she brings it home and shows it to her husband and together they decide what they should spend it on. Since starting, she used her first loan to cement her home, the second to buy mango seedlings for her business and the next to expand her business so she could sell produce on a larger scale. She hopes to keep building her business and make improvements on her home.

Her children all live away from home but when visiting they are amazed at all the improvements. They ask “How are you doing this since you don’t have a job? Where are you getting the money?” She tells them about her VSL group.

Josephine wants to ell others that being in a VSL group is good! In her words, “Fadhili Trust trained us and now we are capable of pooling our savings together. We loan to each other and support each other. Tell people they should join groups too!”

Angel

Angel is 16 years old and attends Sengani Girls High School. She was admitted into the Watoto Wetu project when she was in Class 6.

Her mother was only 18 and newly married when Angel was born. Around the same time, her grandmother also gave birth and died leaving Angel’s mother to care for her own two children, but also five other children her mother had left behind.

When Angel’s mother was 25 years old, her husband abandoned the family, leaving her to care for now eight children on her own. She still sheds tears when telling this story.

It costs about $905 USD per year for Angel’s school fees. Angel’s teachers report that she has great potential.

Jen’s Story

Jen Kyele is a young mother. Before she joined the Village Savings and Loan (VSL) group she didn’t know how to save money for school fees for her children. She had to knock on doors of her neighbours and family members in order for her children to attend school. Jen felt shame and embarrassment when she had to do this.

Jen’s VSL group has been running for almost three years. Since becoming part of the group she has learned about saving and now finds it easy to pay for her children’s school fees. She has saved enough money to build her house, buy some goats, build a chicken coop and buy chickens. She also runs a small business selling kerosene and gives 10% of what she earns to the church as an offering.

In the future, she wants to continue building up her farm. She plans to purchase more equipment and seeds to expand on what she has already done. Jen is grateful for Fadhili Trust and the Village Agent who taught her how to save and earn money. It has transformed her life. In short, Jen’s shame and embarrassment has changed to hope and optimism.