Samaritan Liliaba Working Group, Kenya
Partnered with University UMC, 2014-2016
A report on some activities of your Samaritan Liliaba Working Group as of April 2015
In only a year, the children of the Samaritan Working Group have already progressed from being a problem in their community to being considered “Stars.” Community leaders are impressed by the positive attitude and confidence of these young people, as well as with the great changes they have made in their lives.
The picture above captures members of the Samaritan Group working to prepare land for the growing season. As a group project they will grow both corn and Irish potatoes. The rainy season began at the end of March and they hope this season will be better than the last which saw poor harvests due to difficult weather conditions. To further improve their food security, your partnership, through ZOE, provided the group with two dairy goats, rabbits, chickens, and pigs. Those who received these animals will share the offspring with others in the group as they are prepared to care for the animals. (Information about achieving food security is provided below.)
Already, group members have received their second grant to boost existing businesses. Additionally, seven members have attended vocational training and received start-up kits to begin new businesses. These individuals will train others in the group as interest is expressed. (More information about how grants are distributed and businesses started is below.)
Since their first training on health and hygiene last year, all the members in the group have helped each other dig compost pits and construct drying racks for dishes. This spirit of serving others was also expressed when the group adopted three vulnerable children from the community and helped one of their members acquire land.
Individual members have set up their personal bank accounts. Additionally, the group has both an account for managing the money they receive from ZOE and earn from group projects, as well as a revolving fund to help provide larger amounts of money to members by turn.
We have asked the working group if they have any special prayer requests for their University UMC Hope Companion and they replied:
- Pray that God shall give us enough rains this year
- Pray for our lives and siblings
Focus On: Food Security
Children entering the ZOE empowerment program struggle every day to alleviate their hunger. Usually they try to find work, but because they lack status or an adult advocate, they are paid extremely low wages or small amounts of food. If the children beg, they are a nuisance to the community; if they take from the fields, they are thieves. They might try growing their own food, but they often lack the resources or knowledge to succeed. It is not unusual for these children to go two or three days without eating, and what they do eat is often of poor nutritional value and can lead to health problems.
With guidance from ZOE program facilitators, new working groups immediately explore their options for attaining a stable food source. Because ZOE is an empowerment program, the children are not told what to do, but are instead given options and training so that they can devise their own approach to becoming food secure and self-sufficient.
During initial meetings, ZOE trains working group members in agriculture, nutrition and animal husbandry. After training, the children decide how best to use the resources that your partnership provides. As a group or individually, they will plant a crop or initiate an income-generating activity. Most families also plant kitchen gardens to provide a variety of food for their daily meals and to counter malnutrition. Where appropriate, ZOE will distribute goats, pigs, chickens, or rabbits to families for both nutritional (milk, eggs, meat) and income (breeding, selling products) benefits.
Focus On: Income Generation
While learning how to grow food, keep livestock, and obtain an education is important, orphaned and vulnerable children will not be able to escape extreme poverty or dependency unless they also learn how to make and manage money.
Young family leaders are encouraged to develop multiple income sources. Their working group initiates group business projects, like growing a cash crop or raising small livestock that will provide some money for all to share. Individual households also start small income generating activities like buying and reselling food items, phone air cards, or clothing. Later, ZOE helps the children dream larger dreams about how they can provide for themselves and their siblings in more secure ways. For example, ZOE may help a child enroll in vocational classes to start a trade business (like tailoring, auto mechanic, or hair styling), open a kiosk business to sell dry goods or enlarge their farm or livestock breeding to produce surplus they can sell. It is typical for an ambitious young person in the ZOE program to run several income-generating activities simultaneously.
Before being given resources to start these small businesses, ZOE trains all working group members on how to craft a business plan and manage money. After this training, the group takes the following steps:
Once the business plan is approved, the individual will receive a micro-grant and/or a start-up kit to begin. Throughout this process the ZOE program facilitator is available to provide guidance, but not to tell the group what to do or make decisions for them. In this way the children begin to learn how to make their own decisions while assisting one another so they may continue this process beyond the three-year ZOE program.