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Women And Entrepreneurship – Warembo Self Help Group

In my daily routine as an Entrepreneurship Trainer with The Youth Banner (TYB) and based in Homabay, I have interacted with countless youth from the County and the greater Nyanza region. It has exposed me to the challenges us youth face as well as given me a chance to be part of the success in many of their success stories.

One particular feat that I have witnessed is that of Warembo Self Help Group. Most of these group members met during one of the entrepreneurship classes and formed a bond that attracted other friends and classmates alike to join them. This group has now grown beyond the class to over 60 members, ages ranging between 19 – 35yrs, making time to meet every Friday without fail!

Being at the front row of this growth has taught me a lot as a person but most importantly, the lesson that you don’t need much to create an impact.

Through The Youth Banner Economic Empowerment Program, BEEP, we have not only taught them the importance of women coming together to  learn  entrepreneurship and create an impact in the community, but also the need to pull resources together and start their own table banking and Chama. In a span of one year through the chama, more than 20 have started their own businesses. These range from; beauty saloons, groceries, kiosks, cyber cafes, agent banking outlets and boutiques, among many others. They also support each other by making regular contributions to the chama hence empowering others in the group.

Warembo Self Help Group pose with their trophy after winning the BEST BEEP CLUB award duting the 13th BEEP Graduation Ceremony in June 2016.

These extraordinary group of ladies have also formed a bond whereby they support each other by collectively contributing to funerals, weddings and other social events of their members. Through TYB’s skills’ training program, Amka Tujiinue Group (ATG), they have learnt various handskills e.g. beadwork and weaving that help them make products that they later sell to generate an income for themselves. Through mentorship, they have shown discipline and enabled them to set goals which they have followed through to achieve. TYB’s unique handholding approach by the trainers has ensured they remained focused thus strengthening their efforts.

They also give back to the community through community service activities like street clean up programs, charity, spending time with children in orphanages, prison visits, caring for widows among others. These activities happen once a month.

Warembo Self Help Group during a clean up exercise

Being at the front row of this growth has taught me a lot as a person but most importantly, the lesson that you don’t need much to create an impact. The little resources that you have managed to put together is what you will use to set up a foundation. It is all that matters! I am really proud of the Warembo team.

I thank Siemens Stiftung for their continued support.

 

 

#ChangingLivelihoods

#ForTheYouth

 

Laura Jean-Louis
Trainer and Coordinator,
Homabay county

 

My Take: Working With The Youth

With over 80% of Kenya’s unemployed workforce being under 35, working at The Youth Banner as an entrepreneurship trainer and coordinator has given me the opportunity to be part of the solution. I am invested in facilitating, nurturing, and promoting the development of young entrepreneurs in Kenya. For me this has been a journey of immense pleasure despite the challenges. However, working with young people in the informal settlements of Nairobi and seeing the potential they hold has been a clear indication that by empowering entrepreneurs, Kenya stands a chance at eradicating poverty and unemployment. Nevertheless, most of these young people lack the fundamentals of business management skills and yet they jump straight into business, hence the very reason why most of their businesses fail.

 

The Youth Banner, entrepreneurship training program BEEP has been designed to help gain entrepreneurship and skill development with practical learning that highlights business development. To ensure personal development and behaviour change, the program includes both group and personal mentorship in a bid to ensure our entrepreneurs are able to achieve beyond business success, but also become role models in their community.

 

The success stories shared are just but a fraction of many, and they are an example of The Youth Banner’s efforts in nurturing entrepreneurship and enterprises in Kenya. The total credit goes to those youth for their commitment and hard work in enhancing their skills and by establishing businesses that have increased their earnings for a better life. However, it’s their stories that inspire me and my colleagues to continue with our work even when faced with challenges and I believe that their stories will continue to inspire the future generation of trainers that will join The Youth Banner family.

 

Charity Gichobi is an Entrepreneurship Trainer and Coordinator at The Youth Banner

You may also like THIS ARTICLE about youth rights or DONATE to our cause!

‘Business Now Flows In My Blood’ – The Story Of The ‘Ghetto Guy’

He calls Himself a ‘ghetto guy’. As we share a light moment, he informs me that even his parents wonder how he survives in the city of Nairobi, leave alone being in the slum. He has embraced the hard life of Kiambiu and understands what it is like to live in a slum. Of late, he is managing it better. Here he tells us how he does that…

 

Meet Denis Odhiambo. After completing his high school education, he found himself in Kiambiu operating a movie shop that wasn’t doing very well. “There is this day when my friend came and told me about a certain training in Kiambiu, and the following session I accompanied him. I have never regretted that move.” explains Denis with a broad smile. He attended the entrepreneurship trainings by The Youth Banner, and quickly became the life of the class, engaging facilitators with fascinating, and sometimes hard questions. He was hungry for knowledge.

 

Asked about what he had to say about the training, Denis, with a youthful pose and hands in his jeans’ pockets said, “Cool training. I walk and feel like business flows in my blood. I can now easily identify and take advantage of a business opportunity. And,..” he adds, “…now I manage my business better in terms of purchases. Sales have increased and I have added another computer.” he concludes.

 

Despite a myriad of challenges of funding and difficulties in getting loans, this young man appreciates the fact that he may not be where he wants to be, but he is definitely not where he was before the training.

 

As Denis pulls his seat after reflecting on his progress after the training, he shoots up again excitedly, “Hio Cert pia maze, besides the skills I acquired, inasaidia sana.” (that certificate guys, besides the skills I acquired is helping a lot). He offered an explanation, “The other day I was called for an interview at Orange Kenya at the customer call center, thanks to the skills I acquired on customer care and a certificate to show, I got a one month contract with Orange. I am currently working there.”

 

Success told by the successful has a way of sinking deep into the hearts of the listeners. And there was some reflective silence in the room.

 

I talked to Denis later on about his experience at the customer call center. “I have gotten so used to answering customers’ calls that I find myself answering my mum’s calls, ‘My name is Denis Odhiambo from Orange, how may I help you?’” He left me in stitches.

 

They say an idle mind is the devils workshop, Denis is busy and so his mind is no workshop of evil. He is busy building Kiambiu community, not breaking it