The Pride of Ownership

By Anne Marie Gattari

It’s a rare and wonderful thing when a mother in Maungu, Kenya, can send her child to school. It’s even rarer and equally wonderful when she can go herself.

As an employee of Zawadisha for the past five years, Margaret Mtuku has had the means to do exactly that. She is continuing her studies in accounting and computer science, and her five-year-old son attends a private elementary school.

“In Kenya, education is a must,” Margaret said. “And my son likes school very much. We believe private schools are good for their foundation. There are between 10 and 15 children in the classroom. In public school, there are 50 children in one class.

“Working at Zawadisha also allows me to pay school fees for my own part-time education,” she said.

At Zawadisha, Margaret is the Loan Technical Officer, issuing the micro-loans to local women and collecting their payments. These women are much more than her clients. They are her friends, family and neighbors. They are not unlike herself. 

Margaret understands what it means to have the money to purchase a rain-water tank or a safe solar lamp or a new mattress. She also knows the great pride they feel when making the final payment on that loan. The feeling of ownership, of having bought and paid for a valuable household item, cannot be underestimated. 

The ripple effect of owning these items is equally invaluable. Women gain respect in their homes and communities for having made their days more productive and efficient. These items, ultimately, help the family save money, which allows them to send their children to private schools where classroom sizes are more conducive to learning – 10-15 children in private school classroom vs. up to 50 in public school classrooms.

Margaret’s position takes her to surrounding villages where she will speak to a group of 20 to 30 women about the safe and efficient household items and how, through a micro-loan, they can obtain them.

“When the women get the loan, they are so happy,” she said. “They feel proud. They can now help their families more.”

This is empowerment. It is what Zawadisha is all about. Our unique lending model addresses issues that other lenders overlook. With people like Margaret and Monica at the helm, Zawadisha encourages community engagement and earns the trust of the women in surrounding villages. We deliver the items they purchase. We provide after-sales services and education. 

Before joining Zawadisha, Margaret had been working as a receptionist at a local hospital. In her new job, she was able to become more involved in the business side of the operation. She always loved mathematics and finance. Now she is putting her passion – and her pride – to work. 

Want to meet Margaret? Join us on one of our two trips to Kenya in July 2022--one for cyclists who are ready to explore Kenya and an all women's trip rich in adventure. And as always, 100% of proceeds from our shop support our micro-lending program and our all female, all Kenyan team.