When a group of five women friends from Kenol area in Murang’a County came together to form a chama in 2008, they never envisioned that they would reap huge from that unity.
But years later the group, now comprising 20 women, has grown and transformed lives in their village through the government’s Women Enterprise Fund.
“The five of us were new in the area having recently relocated from different places,” states Wendani wa Wempa group’s chairperson Ms Monica Kioko adding that the need to belong in the new location pushed them to come together and start a merry go round.
Kioko expounds that each one of them would contribute Sh20 so the receiving member would get Sh100. Even though the amount would hardly buy anything, it brought the women closer and more villagers got interested in joining the group.
“As the group grew, we increased the amount from Sh20 to Sh50 later to Sh100 and Sh200 and currently we contribute Sh530 in the merry go round and table banking to supplement the projects we have undertaken.” states Kioko.
By 2013 the Wendani wa Wempa group had 20 members, all women and as the group’s secretary, Ms Jane Mugatha divulges, they heard about the Women Enterprise Fund and got interested in getting the funds.
“In a church service one Sunday, officials from the social welfare talked about an agency that provides affordable credit to support women start or expand business for wealth and employment creation,” narrated Mugatha.
“We got interested and travelled to Saba Saba office the following day and had our group fully registered with the social services in 2013,” notes Mugatha further adding that their group was also trained on financial responsibility as they got prepared to get their first loan of Sh100, 000.
The Women Enterprise Fund is given through registered women groups and its repayment terms and ceiling amount ranges from 12 months for the first cycle worth Sh100, 000 to 24 months for amounts as high as Sh750, 000.
The Wendani Wa Wempa women group received Sh100, 000 in 2014 which they used to purchase chicken for all the 20 members.
“We bought each member chicks and within no time each was selling eggs and chicken,” says Kioko.
With an interest of five per cent on the loan the group repaid the whole amount in time and qualified for Sh200, 000 which they used to purchase goats.
Once again, every member received some milking goats and their lives continued to improve.
“The goats are still producing milk. This has not only improved our livelihood but also the health of our families from the high nutritional value of goat milk,” she stressed. The members sell the surplus to other neighbors.
After successfully repaying the loan, the group in 2015 received a loan of Sh350, 000 which again they used to purchase more goats adding on the already thriving venture.
They repaid the loan and in 2016 received Sh500, 000 which they used to purchase cows.
“Each member received a few cows and from the proceeds we get, we have managed to take our children to school and also build ourselves better homesteads,” observes Kioko
In 2017 they received Sh750, 000 which they used to purchase a piece of land in Kenol’s Kangangu area and now having repaid the loan successfully the Wendani wa wempa group is set to take Sh1 million to develop the piece of land.
“We will use the amount to kick-start building of rental houses in the piece of land,” she adds.
They divulge that in order to succeed group members must speak in our voice as unity is key and advise other women and young people not to shy away from taking the loans as interest rates are very low.
By Florence Kinyua