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Success Stories

In: Social Issues

Submitted By sirdenis
Words 2203
Pages 9
ECONOMIC
EMPOWERMENT
PROGRAM

The Big Picture

Beacon of Hope supported by different sponsors has been conducting trainings on Food security and nutrition. Sensitization forums has been key in empowering OVC and their households on how to improve food security situations as well as empowering them economically to provide for their families livelihoods. The initiatives have enhanced sustainable wellbeing among the communities.
Strategies used by the project include; partnerships and collaboration with the government under Ministry of
Agriculture on trainings and capacity building sessions, networking with other Agri-based institutions like
AMIRAN and Self Help Africa for provision of resource leveraging/startup kits, follow-up visits done by the project staffs to ensure caregivers initiate kitchen / sack gardens. More so, linking OVC HHs to available markets and embracing the agribusiness initiatives and benchmarking for enhanced farming practices.
The project has had continuous workshops and trainings for different clusters namely Olekasasi, Kiserian,
Rongai, Kware and Kajiado empowering food security and nutrition skills to 150 HHs. Notably, the project has held sensitization sessions through caregivers’ forums, monthly monitoring and supervisory visits to 509 HHs . So far, 215 HHs have initiated kitchen gardens and keeps small livestock like Rabbits and chicken. AMIRAN through Beacon of Hope project provided greenhouse to one support group in
Olekasasi, they grew tomatoes and managed a total sales of about Sh. 10,000. The group prepared the green house for the next harvesting where they anticipated growing vegetables - kales, spinach, black nightshade and onions. Shiners group supervised by the QI team are planning to go and benchmark at
Joseph’s farm in Kiserian, which will enhance their greenhouse management next harvest January 2015.
Caregivers who have gained skills on greenhouse management have taken an initiative of constructing their own projects. The project has helped in initiating of three greenhouses so far i.e. one caregiver from Kiserian, one from Olekasasi and shiners group from Olekasasi as well.
The project has enhanced increased food availability and food access through caregiver trainings and sensitizations on improved farming systems, agribusiness techniques, utilization of available resources in initiating sack/kitchen gardens and greenhouses, and linking to available markets. This has increased knowledge on provision of regular & adequate food of quality and quantity to OVC and their HHs.

Page 2

Page 3

THERE IS NO TURNING BACK

When we entered into
Michael Mwihia’s compound we were welcomed by an inviting sweet aroma of fried potatoes originating from a small structure at the backyard of his house. “ Karibuni sana” he said as we walked towards his house. His wife who was busy watering their neat kitchen garden greeted us with a beaming smile.
Michael Mwihia is a caregiver who hails from Olekasasi area. Michael is a father of 3 children 1 boy and 2 girls. The youngest is in class 1 and the oldest is in form 3. He also takes care of his late brothers’ children;
2 boys and 1 girl. The brother and his wife passed on 3 years ago due to HIV complications. Raising the 6 children alone has been a challenge to him as he had no permanent job. To make ends meet he and his wife have been doing casual jobs at Rongai

construction sites and washing clothes which were also hard to come by. The pay was not enough to feed, pay rent, cloth and educate all the 6 children
In the year 2010 Michael’s family was identified by the area chief and enrolled into Beacon of Hope program. Since then Michael’s household

has benefitted from the services offered by the program; psychosocial support, heath care for his children, tom shoes, acquisition of NHIF cover for his whole family, post primary school fees payment for his first born son and birth certificate registration.
His wife joined one of the SILC groups at Beacon of Hope center, where she has been saving for the last 3 years.

Mwihia and his wife preparing some crisps outside their home.

continues on page 3

TAKING CARE OF MY LIFE

Mary Muthoni is a caregiver under the
Beacon of Hope program. The 46 year old mother of two OVC is HIV positive and on medication. Her children Anthony Murigia and John Kiambo are 12 and 14 years respectively. They are both schooling at Kiserian Primary school. Due to health complications Mary separated with her husband and since then she has been the sole breadwinner of her family. The family resides in Gatiiguru area in
Kiserian Kajiado County. Being a single parent hasn’t been easy for her as far as meeting the needs of the two boys is concerned. Her health condition could also not enable her engage in various productive activities to meet the daily basic needs of the family i.e food, house rent, clothes, healthcare costs and school needs

Through the area Chief the OVC were recruited into the Beacon of Hope project early 2012. The household has received services from the project, which include but not limited to comprehensive health insurance cover through NHIF, tom shoes, school uniform, payment of house rent, registration of birth certificates and counseling services.
Early this year, the field officer in charge of Kiserian zone engaged the Community Health Volunteer who monitors and reports for the household to train Muthoni how to make soap detergents.
Continues on page 4

Continued from page 2
Beacon of Hope in conjunction with the ministry of agriculture organized a 3 day value addition and post-harvest training at Olekasasi, where participants were taken through topics on how to add value to agricultural products so that they have a competitive edge at the market outlets hence fetching good returns.
The topics trained were; tomatoe jam and paste making, yoghurt making, crisps making, detergent making, peanut butter and refining honey. Michael attended the training and from the skills gained, he has started a business of making potato and arrowroots crisps packaging them and selling them at the local shops around
Rongai, Ngong Kiserian and Isinya towns.
Last month beacon of hope director and the area field officer visited the couple at their home. We found them going on their daily routine of crisps production. The wife peeling and washing the potatoes as the husband was deep frying them in the electrical cooker they acquired from the wife’s SILC savings, it was a site to behold.
They narrated to the director how they have been able to move from a small squeezed house at
Kware to a spacious house in Olekasasi as their business grew. Director saw their determination and will to succeed and feed their OVC that she promised to purchase a plastic bag electrical sealing machine. Before they were doing it manually using a candle to seal the bags and the process was tedious and time consuming.
The machine was purchased and presented to the family which they are now using, to seal the crisps bags. “The process is now quicker neat and

business flourishing, my almighty God bless our director abundantly for the purchase of this machine” Mwihias wife said with a glowing smile.
The demand for his quality crisps has grown such that he now hires a motorbike for easier movement and transportation of his products. With the help of
BOH Social Empowerment Office he is in process of acquiring Kenya bureau of standards certification so that he can sell his products to supermarkets and big hotels in Nairobi. His wife started a small kitchen garden outside their house where it has been a source of food for the family. From the sales, he has been able to feed his family and partly pay for his children’s school fees.

Sadly, Michael Mwihia passed away in a road accident in
August 1st. But the wife still continues with the business.

Mwihia after receiving the plastic bags electric sealing machine. Page 4

Page 5 continued from page 2

During this time, the caregiver had accepted to engage in an economic activity that would help her have a reliable source of income to sustain the family. The CHV is one of the ToTs
(Trainer of trainers) trained on various business skills during the post-harvest training held in
Kiserian in 2013 supported by the Beacon of
Hope project. After the training, Mary embraced the initiative and she now makes multipurpose detergents for domestic and commercial use.

Finally, the caregiver intends to expand her business to generate more income. The last few months the business has proved to be profitable thus the need to find ways to make it sustainable. The growth of the business would translate to more income that would enhance the family’s living standards. The major challenge towards this goal according to
Muthoni is capital to boost what she’s currently doing. However, she is happy for the business and the income she’s making out of it so far.

So far the small scale business has been profitable since inputs worth ksh. 300 generate between ksh. 200-250 profit. This income has helped her to meet some of her needs and that of the children thus raising their standards of living. The income is often used to buy food, pay her transport to and from hospital and meet minor school needs for the two OVC. Mary sells her products in hotels, individual customers within her neighborhood and business premises in her locality. This has greatly empowered her economically.

“This project has supported me for many years and I am very grateful. My life and that of my children has changed. Anthony and John are in school, my health is well taken care of and the business has created a reliable source of income to cater for our daily needs. Thank you. God bless you all.”

AGRI-BUSINESS EMPOWERMENT

Joseph Ngugi 44 years old is married and has six (6) OVC, five are his own; the first born is 21 years, second born 19 years, third born 17years, fourth born 15 years and last born is 13 years. The sixth child aged 15 years is in form two at Enoo Matasia
Secondary and is a daughter to his ailing brother 42 years who is HIV positive and on medication. His brother Samuel lost his wife 2 years ago due to HIV and left him with a daughter to take care of. Samuel’s health condition has been unstable since his wife died; Joseph took up the responsibility of taking care of
Samuel and his daughter’s upkeep including school fees payment.
The family resides at Kahara area in Kiserian, Kajiado North
County. The need to feed the large family and to take care of his ailing brother made Joseph and his wife to venture into kitchen gardening as a source of food for the family as well as selling for an extra income.
Through
Community
Health
Volunteer, Beacon of Hope recruited the OVC and the household.

Mary Muthoni showcasing the soap detergents that she makes and sells to her clients

The family has received different services from the project thereafter, including post primary school payment for
Samuel’s daughter, NHIF cover for Samuel and his daughter, caregivers post-harvest training (Value addition) , birth certificate for the OVC, shoes, sanitary pads and psychosocial support during
Kiserian
support meetings and monthly monitoring. During the postharvest training held in Kiserian supported by Beacon Of Hope project in November 2013,
Joseph gained skills on how to start a greenhouse project as well as adding value to agricultural products for improved and diversified markets.
He is making tomato jam and yoghurt for sale and household consumption. Furthermore,
Joseph is growing a variety of indigenous vegetables blacknight shade, spinach, kales, tomatoes and onions in the green house. From the farm sales, and a loan acquired from her wife’s women group savings

Joseph and Samwel attending to the crops he was able to improve his farming techniques by constructing a low cost greenhouse. Purchasing poles and sticks from construction sites, a second hand plastic covering from flowering farms in Naivasha and using locally available materials helped him construct a greenhouse where he practices his farming.
The farm has been the main source of income for the family’s wellbeing. Joseph sells the products to local customers, schools and churches. His main client is Naivas supermarket Ngong branch. He makes an average earning of
Ksh 20,000 per month from the greenhouse sales. Moreover, Joseph has ventured into dairy farming for milk and manure for his farming.
Samuel’s health has improved due to good nutrition, adherence to drugs and attending Riverside support group meeting regularly.
This has helped him disclose his status to his brother and the wife, to the support group members and he is working on when to disclose to his daughter. Samuel is now healthy and productive; he actively helps his brother in the farm activities.
“The skills and knowledge gained from the project trainings has enabled me to meet my family’s daily needs and clear part of school fees arrears for my children and my niece, ”. Joseph says as he prunes the flourishing tomato plant.
“My life and that of my family has never been the same again, thanks to Beacon of Hope for the training, we hope tohey will have more trainings in the future” he remarked as he bid us goodbye.

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