This is the story of Madaraka Self Help Group which was formed and registered as a chama in the year 2008 by women from Kenya, Machakos County, Machakos Town Constituency, Kimutwa Location, Konza Sub-location. Most women here depended on their husbands who are casual workers to win daily bread and other family needs and the members of this chama were no exception. The women decided to supplement the meager incomes of their husbands by engaging in a joint saving and chama investments. Madaraka self help group has a total membership of 10 women and 1 man. They were driven by desire to improve the quality of life for their families.
The main objectives include pulling together financial resources for investments, non-collateral loans to members and to use the group as a vehicle/opportunity to access government and non -governmental benefits which can only be channeled through a group. In 2008 the members started group savings and merry go round activity; they managed to save upto kshs 300,000 from 2008 to the end of year 2013. In the start of 2014, they bought water tanks of capacity 3000 liters for each member from their savings. This helped solve the problem of water in their area. Bank balance stood at kshs.70, 000.
Later in April 2014, the sub location chama chairman for Konza sub-location organized all women and self-help groups to a meeting and invited the WEF officer Machakos Town to sensitize on WEF program. Madaraka self help group sent their chairlady and secretary. The group got interested and invited WEF officer Machakos town constituency to give them more training. They successfully applied for their first loan of kshs.100, 000 at the end of April 2014. They were considered for funding and were advanced a loan of kshs 100, 000.The women used half of the money to hire a piece of land 1 acre, bought water pumps and pipes and began growing tomatoes under irrigating. The first sale from the tomatoes was in mid 2015 where the group sold tomatoes worth kshs 400,000, with expenses of kshs 159 000 thus making a profit of kshs.241, 000.
The group employed 2 staff with expert in agriculture and pays them each kshs.10, 000 per month. In early 2016, they managed a second sale and realized almost the same profit making the group to be worthy ksh 550,000 after paying the 1st loan; they applied a second/subsequent loan of kshs 200,000 in February 2016 and were considered for funding the second time by the fund. From the second loan the group managed to increase its acreage under irrigation from 1 acre to 2 acres. They have planted tomatoes which are awaiting harvest December 2016. The group used the remaining funds to begin individual members businesses ranging from 9 foodstuff shops, a charcoal selling business and a motorbike business. They are expecting to get kshs 800,000 as sales and with expenses of kshs 300 000 thus making a profit of half a million by end of December 2016.
The specific benefits/impact to the members includes:
- Moved 100% dependency to sharing family responsibilities and are now able to meet some basic needs even without relying on their husbands.
- Access to safe drinking water from the water tanks they purchased.
- Created employment opportunities to 2 tomatoes farm attendants, institutions and several other community women who buys tomatoes from them and sale to other retailers and consumers.
- The 11 members have begun planting tomatoes at their individual farms, where other several households are adopting the same practice and ready to learn from them.
- The women have also managed to equip their houses with decent furniture.
- Members are able to meet their costs of medication and education for the children in high schools and tertially institutions.
- The women are respected and highly valued in the community as agents of change.
A QUOTE FROM THE CHAIRLADY “we are happy since Women Enterprise Fund has helped Madaraka self help group members to move from dependency to self-reliance, if the Fund could not have intervened in our situation, we may now be still dependents on our husbands’ unpredictable incomes; We are happy now that we have been assisted by women enterprise fund to create sustainable incomes. We are planning to buy and own the piece of land after our December 2016 tomatoes harvest. We have also empowered other 2 women groups from our area to get the loan and are more willing.”
Members of Madaraka Self help group weeding their tomatoes plantation