How about promoting maternal, child health and sanitation while saving money?
This is the essence of a village savings and loan association that brings together mothers with little or no income.
It aims to create sustainable jobs.
Started in 2015 in Koredo village, Homa Bay County, the scheme resorted to having women save money per meeting and with this the members can set up small businesses to improve their livelihoods.
John Owino, a community health worker says that Sh20 is the mandatory contribution alongside a minimum saving of Sh50 every two weeks.
“As a health worker, I realized that mothers had no source of income and we had to think of a way to turn around the situation and enable mothers to get some money from small businesses,” says Owino.
A total of 25 members formed the group but that is not the entire story as currently some members are able to save as much as Sh250 during every meeting.
From the onset, the group agreed that each member will be loaned a maximum of an amount three times their savings at a ten per cent interest rate.
However, to get a loan, the member must give a surety so that the group does not suffer loses in instances the member defaults.
Owino says, “Some of the surety include even livestock but this is just a way of ensuring that no money is lost.”
And the efforts have borne fruits.
The group decided to focus their energy on improving education in the area. There are ten vulnerable children in the area who are currently being sponsored for their education.
One rule for the group is that each member must have a kitchen garden as way of improving nutrition at the family level. This was decision they arrived at after a training undertaken by humanitarian organization World Vision.
Owino states that the aim of the kitchen garden is to cut costs of buying food that can easily be grown at home and instead channel the money saved to income generating ventures.
The partnership, however, did not end there as the group members also realized water is a challenge in the area, the group members received water dispensing ceramics a revolutionary technology that ensured the water is safe as it naturally filters dirty water using earthen pots fixed in a plastic bucket.
Owino says that this is one of the fruits of the mothers coming together because without these they would still have to depend on the dirty water.
“Those in dire need of clean, safe drinking water were considered in our partnership and they eleven members received the ceramic pots something that would not have been possible without working as a group,” says Owino.
To ensure complete safety of the water for drinking, it is first treated with tablets before the pot is used to filter it.