Community Resource Centre
Developing a Thriving Community through Empowering Women
One of our first steps to empower the community was to build our community resource centre to provide a resource base where we could train women and young people in leadership, small business development and sustainable farming. The aim is to use the centre primarily to develop prosperous women’s co-operatives and families in the wider Tsavo region.
Built on land held in trust for the community, The Resource Centre is also a place where women in the Itinyi Valley can meet together and enjoy a space for friendship and mutual support. It’s also home to the Tumaini CBO, led by Devota, a lovely local woman dedicated to encouraging the women in her group to develop themselves and their small businesses so they can support their families.
The Tumaini group, based at the Resource Centre, has a “table banking” initiative where they put funds on the table each month and loan the fund raised to one of the women amongst them who has a special need – it maybe they need help to pay school fees or buy food for their hens or for a family funeral or health issue. Each month the woman repays her loan to the group and it’s leant to another. Each loan comes with a 10% interest payment to the group and at the end of the year, the women share the profits as dividends.
It’s this model that helped inspire our own Angel Empowerment Fund where we loan funds to women and sometimes young men to develop their small business into something viable and sustainable. We heard how women were routinely charged a minimum of 20-35% on small loans by charities and banks, the excuse being that it costs a lot for banks or charities to follow up small loans and repayment. The Table Banking model uses the group to act as guarantors and they have 100% payback to their group.
Helping the women in the community to create their own sustainable enterprises will enable them to support their families, educate their children and improve the local economy. This will make a lasting contribution to the women, freeing them from the shackles of poverty.