invest in women

The Women of Kasigau: Meet the Bungule Women's Group

From left to right: Dorocus, Elpina, Josephine, Eunice, Margaret, Christine, Emarline, Hope, and Dorine

From left to right: Dorocus, Elpina, Josephine, Eunice, Margaret, Christine, Emarline, Hope, and Dorine

Editor's note: This post is a new approach for Zawadisha. Normally we feature the women who we currently with in Kenya. But we recognize the importance of telling the stories about the women who are waiting patiently for their water tanks, their solar lamps, their clean cook stoves. Our community includes them, and we want to share their stories with you. You can help us fund them by donating to Zawadisha and typing Bungule in the memo line.

 

“The more you work hard, the more you get.” - Group mantra

 

Meet the Bungule Women Basket Weavers, the very first women’s group to form in the rural Kasigau area located approximately eight hours south of Nairobi.  By joining together, the women have empowered each other and inspired more independence in each other.  Through basket weaving and growing vegetables in their greenhouse, they now earn additional money to that helps them “stand on their own two feet," as they like to say in Kenya. The women are not solely dependent on their husbands as the only providers of income, and the result is that they now are able to determine the necessities that they need. This group leads by example and has inspired others in the area to form similar groups.  


The women’s group has participated in table banking for the last year, where the women contribute a small amount to the group each month so that a different member can take out a loan.  Once they have taken a loan they pay a higher rate until the loan is paid back.  This practice has instilled the discipline to pay back their loans and opened so many more opportunities.  Now if they need money to pay for their children’s school fees they have somewhere to turn.  Loans of water tanks and iron sheets will help the women to collect more water at their homes.  This will keep them from having to walk long distances to collect water and allow them more time to weave baskets which is their primary source of income.


Chairlady: Christine Nyange is the chairlady of the Bungule Women basket weavers.  She has lead the group since it was founded 13 years ago.  The group works based off the principle, “The more you work hard, the more you get.”  She leads the group by ensuring that everyone is sharing ideas and working together.

Meet Our Members | Florence Katiwa

“We’ve now gotten multiple avenues to be able to advance, so it can get nothing but better” [CLICK TO TWEET]


Z: Please tell us a little about yourself and your family -- where did you grow up, do you have brothers/sisters, how many children do you have now...

F: I was born and raised in Machakos in a house of 2 kids from my immediate parents. My father later remarried, and had 6 other kids, bringing the total to 8 kids. I also schooled in Machakos. I got married in Shinda Hills. Eventually my husband wanted his own land, and bought land in Marungu. We then moved and have lived here ever since. I have four kids.

 

Z: What is your most memorable experience as a child?

F: When we were kids, we were playing outside in a compound that was made up of homes with grass thatched roofs. While we were playing, we decided to play around with fire. One of the kids threw the stick upwards that had some fire, and it landed on the house that stored all our food, which of course went up in flames. When our parents returned, we were severely beaten, and I have never forgotten that.

 

Z: What has changed in your village/Kenya since you were a young girl?

F: Education. People did not place focus on education for female students. Not so much anymore.

 

Z: Now that you are a grown woman, what is the one thing that you are most proud of?

F: I a proud of having being married and having a homestead to call my own, and that I am able to manage my homestead. I go back home to my own place.

 

Z: What brings you joy?

F: The progress that Zawadisha brings us.

 

Z: What does the future look like for you, your family, and your community?

F: It will be easier and better than it has been. We’ve now gotten multiple avenues to be able to advance, so it can get nothing but better.

 

Z: What do you want other people to know about you, your family, and/or your community?

F: To know how much me and my life have changed due to joining a group.

 

Z: If you could change one thing in this world, what would it be?

F: If I could go back and be a child again, I would push myself through studying. I have learned too late about the importance of education.

Meet The Team | Monica Mwende

"I want others to know about the work that I am doing in the community to help the girls.”-- Monica Mwende, Zawadisha loan recipient and team member [TWEET THIS]

Meet Monica, a Zawadisha loan recipient and member of Zawadisha's Kenya-based staff, who has been able to make dramatic changes for herself and for her family since receiving a loan. Take a moment to see what she's doing--the return on what seems like a small investment will amaze you.

Z: Please tell us a little about yourself and your family -- where did you grow up, do you have brothers/sisters, how many children do you have now, what tribe do you belong to...
M: I identify with kiKamba, which is my mother's tribe. I am an only child. I grew up in Mombasa and went to school there. I later relocated to Maungu with my husband. I have 3 children, one son and two daughters.

 

Z: What has changed in your village/Kenya since you were a young girl?
M: Things were much cheaper when i was growing up. The economy doesn't seem to be that good anymore. People can't afford that anymore. Even back then when people didn't have enough money, they always seemed to have just enough. Now, it never seems to be quite enough. The level of education has also changed significantly. Back then, a class 8 level could find a job to support his/her family. Now, not even finishing undergraduate degree can get you a job.

 

Z: Now that you are a grown woman, what is the one thing that you are most proud of?
M: I am proud of my children.

 

Z: What brings you joy?
M: To see many more girls in school, and women being empowered, and not having to depend on their husbands.

 

Z: What does the future look like for you, your family, and your community?
M: I see myself and my family at such a different place than we are now. My kids will have all finished school and gotten good jobs. I also see more women continuing to be empowered, and especially financially.

 

Z: What do you want other people to know about you, your family, and/or your community?
M: I want others to know about the work that I am doing in the community to help the girls. I want them to know about the issues that the girls in the community are facing; lack of sanitary pads and panties when they need them the most because they cannot afford them. This means they have to frequently miss school. This is a huge problem in the schools here in this community. I want to eventually open a camp for the girls, as well as one for the boys that will teach them how to end GBV (Gender Based Violence), how to respect women, and to know that showing emotion does not mean that they are weak as they are currently being taught.

 

Z: If you could change one thing in this world, what would it be?
M: I would want men and women, girls and boys to switch genders for a year so that each side could really truly understand what it really is like to be us. This will help us truly understand each other.