Tenebo is a Maasai name meaning ‘Pamoja’ in Kiswahili and Together in English. The name of the group symbolizes the coming together of 12 women in Oloibortoto Sub location, Olkiramatian location in Kajiado North County to support each other in implementing goals and dreams they otherwise could not achieve on their own.
The group was formed in October 2011 with the objective of creating income generating project to economically and socially empower its members. Since its formation the group has initiated different income generating projects some for the group in general and others for the individual members.
The group enjoys some level of cohesion and commitment to task that is phenomenal. Asked what their objective is.
The chair lady says ‘ tunata kua ikifika mwisho wa mwaka hata sisi tunasaidia kwa boma kulipa school fees, rent na vitu zingine kubwa kubwa(We are aiming that at the end of each year we also help our families in paying school fees rent and other big things )’
Formed less than a year ago (on October last year), the group has supported each woman in buying a dairy goat. A four months old dairy goat is worth more than ten thousands. The 12 members each got one. At the home the meeting is held Mama Kibibi now has two fully grown female dairy goats and one male.
The aim of this, the secretary says, is to be able to supply the women with enough milk for their families and also some surplus to sell to the neighbors for income.
Ina addition to the goats and a bee keeping project the group recently started a rabbit keeping project, the rabbits are six and they are planning to extend that too. The bee keeping project already has ten beehives.
The women in this group have a vision for the products from their farms. They plan to use them to make cake, start a bakery. Why?
‘We are adding value’ Mama Khadija says ‘it would be cheaper and more challenging to sell sweet potatoes, cassava and those other things as they are especially here in Nguruman’
The other things include cassava, millet, soya beans and pumpkins. They are dried, grounded into flour and then used to make cakes. The women believe selling cassava scones, pumpkin chapattis and sweet potatoes queen cakes is more appealing to farmers and residents of Nguruman and its outskirts.
The sweet potatoes also make bar soaps. They have tested their products in the market, displayed them in different field days organized by the ministry of Agriculture and they are optimistic about the reception.
There is a lot of water in Nguruman. This group sees that as an opportunity to make some extra shilling and also help fellow women who are hit by a persistent water problem around the division and beyond. They are planning to start a purification and supply project in which they will fetch the water in Nguruman, purify it and supply to the women who walk long distances to get water that is not even safe for drinking. At an affordable cost.
‘We also have a savings plan’ the chairlady responds. ‘Every month each woman gives 400 shillings in our meetings held twice a month, part of the money is deposited in our account and part of it is left with the host of the meeting. The green books are used to record each member’s contribution’
Their savings have grown rapidly since the group began the plan. Their plan is that at the end of six months, individual members will be able to apply for loans from the organization. With their savings they also plan to start lending out to other groups at an interest to help out other women and to also create an income for the group.
In future they are planning to expand the bee keeping project, have a fully equipped bakery, start the water purification project and expand soap making. By the end of this year, their savings would have grown enough to be able to advance loans to individual members of the group.
They will also be eyeing the loans given to small groups by the government and other organizations.
The main challenges quoted by members of this group include poor infrastructure making it hard to transport their products and lack of finances for expansion.
The women say that their husbands have been very supportive in this initiative
‘Who will prevent you from going to a group meeting if they are drinking milk and he can see goats in the homestead courtesy of the same group?’ Asks a member of the group,.