Amoni’s Story...Building sustainable and resilient livelihoods
By Lameck Asava and Nickson Lomuse
Turkana County is highly drought prone—located in the north-west of Kenya, on the border of Uganda, the villages are remote and opportunities few.
Amoni, 30, lives in Lokiriama village with her five children—her eldest 15. She is a member of the ‘Lokiriama Peace’ Savings Group, formed in June 2016.
Savings groups allow financially excluded communities to practice collective savings and informal lending.
Members meet twice a month to buy shares at an agreed amount, take out loans, and repay loans with interest. Between nine to 12 months after being established, the shares are redistributed, and the savings and lending cycle starts over. The groups have a constitution, leaders, rules and a safe box with three keys for their funds.
Amoni had not run a business before joining the group—instead informally selling charcoal and firewood, never earning enough for her family. With entrepreneurial training and business mentorship she was provided, she took out her first loan of 15,000 Kenyan Shillings, approximately $150 USD.
“When I joined the group, we were trained on how to save money. I was challenged to change the form of business that I was doing into something that would be more profitable to take care of my household needs. I looked around at the various forms of businesses that were being operated by other women and I settled on selling household items which have good profits.”
Amoni’s small shop—stocking wheat flour, cooking oil, rice, maize, sorghum, sugar and other items—enabled her to quickly repay her first loan on time, and take another loan of 20,000 KES to invest in more goods.
She has now repaid her third loan and is one of the stand-out examples from the group of a woman who started her business from scratch.
The savings group members have received a number of Maternal, Infant and Young Child Feeding (MIYCN) training sessions, informing them about best practices to increase their household nutrition status.
When asked how she uses the profits generated from the business, Amoni says: “I first buy food for my family before anything else. I buy rice, beans, sugar, milk and vegetables for my children. I understand the importance of feeding my children on a balanced diet, so I try as much as I can—although it is quite challenging to get vegetables. Issues of proper feeding are some of the topics we discuss as women during our meetings.”
Save the Children has been delivering the GIZ funded ‘Food and Nutrition Security—Enhanced Resilience’ programme in four sub-counties of Turkana. 40 Savings Groups have been formed, all comprised of women of childbearing age, or women with children under five.
A livelihood programme with a nutrition focus, the savings groups have been provided with entrepreneurship training for the members to establish their own income generating activities, as well as ongoing business mentorship.
The collectives have been a strong platform through which to deliver life-saving nutritional information—critical as Turkana has experienced one of the worst droughts in history
Despite this, the women have managed to increase the net household income month after month and increase the amount spent on food.
For more information, contact Save the Children Kenya’s Director of Programme Development and Quality, Jane Mutua on: firstname.lastname@example.org