Partnering with communities & local Government in Kenya

by Polycarp Otieno Onyango

On Tuesday March 25th, 115 community members from three villages in Isiolo County took part in a graduation ceremony in Almanach village after being trained by Resilience and Economic Growth in Arid Lands – Improving Resilience (REGAL-IR) and the Government of Kenya. The trainings they received ranged from poultry management, to record keeping and through to group dynamics and formation. The trainings were aimed at enabling them keep proper business records, review their businesses to know whether they are making a profit or a loss, learn how to better manage and rear their indigenous poultry. They we also trained on how to manage savings, loans and loans repayment and keeping an effective farming calendar.

The Chief Guest at the function, Ms. Fatuma Halkano, Director for Isiolo County Labor and Social Services, also presented the groups from these villages with government certification that will enable them apply for Women Enterprise Fund, and other government funds. “The group certificates that you are receiving today are like a key and with this key you can access the Women Enterprise funds, and all the devolved funds,” she said.

Generica Aule from Akinyemit Group spoke to the team of national journalists present about the impact the trainings have had on her life. “I started with five kilograms of sugar in my small shop but now I have stock valued at KSH 5,000. I make a profit of KSH 1600 per week. Before the training on saving and lending by Adeso, I never knew that saving KSH 50 could have an impact in my life, but now I know. I save KSH 50 with my group every week and in December last year took my first loan of KSH 800 from the group. That really boosted my business.”

Also speaking at the function, the representative of the Area MP and Constituency Development Fund (CDF) coordinator, Bishop Peter Ekai, explained that his office has funds which interested groups can apply for. The groups can apply for a minimum of KSH 50,000 and a maximum of KSH 500,000 interest free loans. For his part, County Assembly Member Hon. Benjamin Lopetet, promised that the county government of Isiolo is ready to work with REGAL-IR and other partners.

Resilience and Economic Growth in Arid Lands-Improving Resilience is a five-year project to reduce hunger and poverty among pastoral communities in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs). Implemented by Adeso and its five consortium partners, the program is funded by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Feed the Future (FtF). The program will strengthen social, economic and environmental resilience for some 558,000 people (93,000 households) in Isiolo, Garissa, Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir counties.