It's Not One Size Fits All

Zawadisha is a non-profit whose mission is to finance the livelihoods of rural Kenyan women. One way we do that is here, through our Social Good Marketplace. Want to know more about our beginnings? Our founder Jen Gurecki shares why and how she started Zawadisha.

I immersed myself in the intersection of gender and poverty during my graduate studies. While I never did manage to write that dissertation (oops, and more on that later), so much of what I researched and learned through my master's and PhD is embedded in the daily work of Zawadisha, and even our entire shop (which I like to think of as your own personal Social Good Marketplace).

Zawadisha's unique model is designed to address rural-specific issues like low levels of community engagement and trust by providing in-house credit, direct delivery to villages, after-sales service, and education. Our all Kenyan, all women team who live in these communities build trust with our members. They know what these women because they're not that different. They have empathy, they have local knowledge, and they have a unique perspective on success.

With our lending model, women can choose a lamp, clean cookstove, a rain water tank, or even quality of life items like a mattress (how important is a good night's sleep?) and we provide the financing and deliver items to rural communities. Over the course of six to twelve months, women make small payments and can apply for another loan once they have repaid. Our local Peer Educators follow up with workshops on entrepreneurship, agriculture, leadership, and financial literacy.

By working with existing women's groups instead of individuals, we increase accountability for repayments, and our women are supported and encouraged to finish paying their loan by their peers. 

Women no longer have to walk for hours to fetch water or lose productive time at night. Children stay in school because their school fees are paid and women gain respect in their homes and communities for spurring the increase in living standards.

Our model isn't cookie cutter. It's not one-size-fits all. This makes it far more difficult but it's worth it. It actually works in rural communities because it was designed specifically for them.

Want to learn more about Zawadisha? Join us at our 2021 We Are Change Makers event. Get info and tickets here. 

Did you know that all proceeds from our shop benefit our micro-lending program in Kenya? Pretty cool, right? Click here to shop our handwoven baskets, made by the women of Zawadisha.

Want to learn more about Zawadisha? Read about how Poverty Is Sexist here.