Thought I would just do a quick run down on who is who in regards to our projects so as not to confuse anyone. We have basically come in with three separate projects which are separately funded, and a pocket full of cash from friends to spend as the need arises.
Tembo Kenya; teaching, empowering, mentoring, building opportunity
This is the group that the Canada to Kenya funds (and on-line donations from our generous friends and family) are being funnelled through. I am working as an agent for Tembo to help coordinate business skills training and vocational scholarships. Many of the applicants who were interviewed yesterday will be gaining a skill that will help to support their families because of your donations! That is so amazing to me.
The business skills training is another stream for the fundraising you have taken part in. Two groups have already started. Tembo has a commissioned a trainer from Kisumu, Alex. Alex holds two sessions to hammer home the idea of self sufficiency. He tells them straight up there is no money coming from the Mzungus, so if that is what you came for, go home now!
The groups that come are already a part of an organized self-help group (they may have organized just for these purposes). After the initial two sessions, the groups go away and put together a plan for a joint enterprise. Some that were discusses were bee keeping, rabbits, chickens, and yams. The next two sessions are done with the leaders of the groups (chairman, secretary, treasurer). The focus again is on choosing a viable enterprise that can be undertaken independent of support from Mzungus.
One of the youth groups have chosen liquid soap. They call their co-operative "Hope for Soap." Tembo has made an arrangement with the Golf Hotel to have their used water bottles, and are assisting the group in finding contracts for the soap (schools, restaurants, etc.). The youth are thrilled. They can sell a 500ml bottle of liquid soap for 50 Ksh and make it for about 1Ksh. Great mark up.
Quality control and co-operation is stressed to the leaders. Once a group is a formal co-operative (there are lots of rules that I don't yet understand) and have proven some success in business, they may be eligible for a loan from an already existing Kenyan institution.
Tembo believes it is important to work within the community with institutions that are already in place. So, rather than foreigners coming in and telling them what to do with pockets full of money, Tembo is calling on Kenyan expertise, local schools and trainers, and local financial institutions. Building community with the resources of the community.
Rod and Patricia Crossley are the founders of Tembo-Kenya. They are also Rotarians from Victoria. Nancy is from Vancouver (a board member of Tembo) and is in Kakamega for her fifth time; she will be here until March. Caroline, Tony, Vincent, Julius, Richard, Johnstone, and Grace are on the Kenyan Advisory Board and all volunteer their time and expertise (there may also be others I haven't yet met).
More to come tomorrow... lost power for a couple of hours, now I am sleepy.