29th May 2015
When we started doing the business trainings in February, we always said there would be “graduations”.
The MBA team from the Kelley School of Business kindly designed 'Certificates of Completion' for Compassion CBO, after having collaborated with Evanson [founder of Compassion] to adapt a business training gude specifically for grassroots women.
We have recently been handing out the certificates to the nearly 150 people that we’ve so far trained. The trainings are largely aimed at women but we had some men taking part too. Many of the participants have already begun to put their training into action and means that I can provide you with a few early success stories:
The founder of Highway Disabled People’s Self Help Group listend to us telling the group not to be afraid of starting things - and then set up a stall in Nairobi selling biscuits, pens, sweets, etc. This is especially inspiring as he can’t see more than a foot in front of himself but now every day he takes a bus into town (which can take nearly an hour in traffic) and does his selling.
One of the members of Kagongo Women’s Group knew that poultry farming was what she wanted to do, but didn’t know where to start. She is now raising indigenous chickens for their eggs, having looked for and discovered a gap in the market and finding out that she can sell her eggs at twice the price of the more common hybrid bred chicken eggs that most people in her area supply.
A woman from our training in Tinganga, decided to take a skill she already had, knitting, and turn it into her business. She is now making scarves to sell, she was even knitting at the beginning of the graduation meeting; that is how much she wants to get going.
While the Ikarunda Flower Growers Association have been busy registering their group with the Kenya government, they have also been beginning their own individual, business side-lines – mostly they have gone in for chicken farming, which will allow them to have time enough to grow flowers together as well. Now that they’ve registered, they are planning to put in place some of the things we talked about in training, such as improving their advertising.
Finally, a women from our Bethsaida trainings knew that she wanted to break into the tourist market with her beaded jewellery. The trainings had emphasised the importance of being different, so she went off and learnt how to make all kinds of other beaded products: from bags to pot holders. Now she has a decent amount of stock to sell, she is going to approach shops and markets frequented by travellers to get her handiwork to a wider audience.
This are just a few insights and obviously it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. Illnesses and lack of savings means that some of our trainees are still struggling, but mostly things seem to be looking up for them. Next month, Compassion will be doing more in-depth follow-ups - visiting the sites of people’s businesses. We’re also encouraging groups to write up, in their own words, their projects - so hopefully you will have that to look forward to.
Linnet Griffith-Jones is a graduate in Politics from Lancaster University and has an MSc in International Politics from Trinity College, Dublin.
Linnet is currently carrying out an internship with Compassion CBO in Nairobi.