Conspiring to succeed [Part I]

There are things that make my eyes moist:

  1. An infant’s smile, giggle or mispronunciation of a name they are fond of.
  2. An artist in their full expression
  3. People so tightly knit by their aspirations that they give themselves unreservedly in the quest.  

I met such people, a week ago when I visited Narok – tightly knit and working towards a goal together.

Individuals, one-after-another, could tell what their group goals are, and what they are parting with daily, to achieve. Especially seeing how concerned members are, to each other made my heart tender through and through.

From the Latin “conspirare” – which means “to breathe together,” I would say they are conspiring to succeed.

Through World Concern’s ASCA’s (chamas), groups are facilitated to make financial and social goals and then individuals work towards them, all the while monitoring each other’s progress.

It’s amazing.

One such group (Dupoto Self Help Group), set a financial goal to save Kshs. 300,000 by November, 2014. This saw each member increase their weekly sav­ings from Kshs. 100 to Ksh 315. This September, the group will hold a party to celebrate attaining the Ksh 225,000 milestone.

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Dupoto Self Help Group

Social goal: ‘Each member will replace their house mud-roof with iron sheets by November 2014.’ To do this, member are making individual savings from their businesses.  “At the end of year, we shall visit each other’s houses to see if this has been attained,” said group secretary Regina Koinag.

They have become families, ‘breathing together’ as it were, as members get involved in each other’s lives in a way they had never done before.

Below, a few people I met. . .   

Alice has also expanded business from loan borrowed from group
Expanding her business from a group loan she borrowed, Alice is saving part of the business proceeds to meet her social goal. She has so far purchased 8 iron sheets out of her planned 20

I was ill in December 2013. Since it was on a Monday, I was waiting for my husband to sell a sheep on market day (Wednes­day) in order to raise my transport money to the hospital.
However, the Dupoto group quickly mobilized funds on that very day and I was rushed to hospital. I returned on Tuesday. That action really motivated me, and reignited my commitment to the group – Alice Meegisho

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We voluntari­ly decided to raise separate monies to purchase 20 ewes, one for each member, every week. Yesterday, we completed the round, and 8 members have reported that their sheep have given birth already. We will now decide on whether to purchase calves for each member as the sheep project is now complete – Regina Koinag.

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Jonathan borrowed money for compost, while his wife Irene used her’s to purchase maize seeds. Their harvest is soon calling

I have learnt that poverty diminishes the mind, but where there is hope, the mind expands. World Concern training on saving and businesses management has expanded our minds – Jonathan Limo.

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  • Accumulated Savings and Credit Associations (ASCAs) by World Concern initially consist of around 12 self-selecting members (though will often grow spontaneously to 20-25 members)
  • Our training includes setting up group governance structures, business management and new investment opportunities.
  • ASCAs allow savings to accumulate into an increasingly large pool from which members may draw loans. Eventually, the group may even offer loans to people outside of the group.
  • Interest earned on loans devolves to the group as wealth is created and redistributed within the community.
  • According to Trainer Evans Nyaga, members have been able to settle medical expenses, school fees and even start businesses.

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Edwin Kuria

Edwin Kuria is World Concern Kenya’s communications officer. He also writes for our Kenya blog at http://kenya.worldconcern.org/.

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