HOPE worldwide Kenya has been implementing projects that aim at reducing HIV infections among Adolescent Girls and Young Women using integrated approaches that address the social economic determinants of the disease in informal settlements. The DREAMS Project is funded by the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) though Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bold Idea for Girls Project is funded by Grand Challenges Canada (GCC).
On 14th September 2018, girls in Mukuru kwa Ruben informal settlement were in for a surprise – a special mentorship presentation. About 70 girls from the two projects, who prior to the event had been undertaking a 2 day training on how to start and or grow their businesses were waiting in anticipation. They turned up early for this first mentorship event not knowing what to expect.
Flora is a very eloquent and confident girl in class 6 at Gatoto Community Primary School. She is an in- school beneficiary of the Adolescent Empowerment Programme (AEP) initiative implemented by CARE in Kenya in partnership with HOPE worldwide Kenya (HWWK) in Mukuru informal settlement, Nairobi. Flora is 11 years of age and a 3rd born in a family of three. She dreams of being an actress when she completes her studies.
Flora is an active member of life worriers AEP group comprising of 20 members. She opened a Smarta savings account on 10th of April, 2018 with Post Bank and started saving individually.
“The most interesting AEP session I ever attended was on savings and that is how I learnt about saving. This really motivated me to open an account and start saving on my own. I started saving because of the challenges I have been facing with my family. Living in Mukuru informal settlement can be very challenging,” narrated Flora.
Esther Kendi was enrolled into the DREAMS Project in the year 2016. At the time of enrollment she was living in Fuata Nyayo village of Nairobi south ward and doing a small business of knitting and minor clothes repairs.
"When customers were hard to come by I used to do casual jobs like washing clothes for people to earn a living. After getting enrolled into the DREAMS Project, I started receiving services like HIV Testing Services (HTS), entrepreneurship training, financial capability training, and family planning among others. I gained knowledge on how to run my business properly. I also benefited from a business start-up kit which boosted my fashion and design business," narrated Esther.
Fifteen Kenya Kids caregivers last week received a training on Voluntary Savings and Loans Associations. These are savings groups that are formally registered with the government, whose members engage in table banking and access group resources from micro finance institutions and banks.
The caregivers got to hear the experiences of Mr. Kamau, the lead Community Health Volunteer in the Ruai Nilinde Project who has helped many caregivers empower themselves through creating strong savings groups.
Christine Syombua (right), a 30 year old mother of one, is a beaming green grocer based in the dusty Kamulu town, Ruai Sub County. Her semi-permanent shop is strategically placed near the road where passengers and drivers in public service vehicles pass by to order her well displayed fruits and vegetables. She narrates her story:
“I joined HOPE worldwide Kenya’s Nilinde* Project in 2016 where together with other caregivers we formed a Voluntary Savings and Loans Association (VSLA). Through this group, we saved KSh. 50 every month and eventually, we saved up enough for table banking. Later that year, I borrowed KSh. 1, 500 from the group and used it as capital to start my green grocer stall. I started by selling bananas, oranges and tomatoes on a small counter.”