When I’m gone

During quiet reflective moments, I sometimes wonder what will happen when I’m gone.

As I ponder, I realize that life will still go on. My eyes become misty and then it dawns on me that a legacy is a good thing to leave behind.

In the humanitarian world – some kind of impact and sustainable projects. 

So when I received an invitation to attend an event by a village bank in Embu, I was stoked. Mostly because Kigumo FSA which was started by World Concern more than a decade ago, and supported for only 4 years, is not only still running, but growing fast on its own.

World Concern Kenya Country Director Harun officially opens new bank building
World Concern Kenya Country Director Harun officially opens new bank building

Kigumo FSA started out in a rented building, but the group has over the years managed to purchase a piece of land and rehabilitate a building on it, to establish their fully owned premises.  Today, the FSA boasts of 1615 members, a share capital of Ksh 3 million ($ 30,000) and loan portfolio of Ksh 4 million shillings ($ 40,000)

Financial Services Associations (FSA) were introduced as a more sustainable intervention of World Concern’s Micro-Finance program. An FSA, or ‘village bank’, is a facility wholly owned by the local community through shares.

As I sat to write this post, I realized I had been invited for a party I didn’t deserve to be in – I was in high school when that project started!

World Concern helped birth something that would affect the lives of people who would come a decade later – like me, and possibly their children, even generations; and today Kigumo FSA is a testimony that communities can take charge of their own transformation when properly facilitated.

We’re proud.

Some photos from the July 25, 2015 event, below.

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Embu County Minister Mrs Pamela Rita Kiarie speaks at the opening event

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Embu County Minister Mrs. Pamela Rita Kiarie speaking at the opening event

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Harun speaking at the event

 

Members at the event
Members at the event

A member follows event proceedings

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Evans who has provided financial guidance to the FSA over the years, speaks

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Zachary, one of the FSA founders makes remarks
World Concern staff leading a chorus
World Concern staff lead a chorus

FSAs started by World Concern in remote parts of Embu and Narok have become extremely pivotal.

They enable families access mainstream banking services right in their villages: they save money, access normal and emergency loans, have 3rd party member & non-member cheques cleared, access bankers’ cheques as well as mobile money transfer services.

 

Group unlocks diverse income for Anne

8 months ago, Anne Turgut joined an Accumulated Savings and Credit Associations (ASCAs) group that had settled on a weekly contribution of Ksh 200 ($2), but she didn’t have enough to even make a first contribution.

Quick thinking saved her as she quickly offloaded bananas, enroute to the market, to group members therefore raising required monies, plus some extra. Since then she hasn’t looked back.

Through ASCAs, World Concern has provided  practical financial springboard to residents in Narok, Kenya. In the program, capital generated by members remains under their ownership and control, with World Concern providing training and facilitation in business growth.

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“When I joined the ASCA (Hekima Self Help Group), I thought I was too old, but now my mind has become renewed. I have acquired new strength,” she said, “my problem was not that I was not getting money, but that I didn’t know how to manage it.”

The 58 year old said that she learnt how to save money upon joining Hekima, which was something completely foreign to her.

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“I bought 7 chicken with my first loan of Ksh 2400 ($ 28),” she said. Now that the chicken have multiplied by tens, she waits for their eggs to accumulate before selling and storing the money in her mobile phone (MPESA) account. When it is time to pay the group contribution, Anne withdraws from this kitty.

She said being also able to settle her loan from the chicken venture is something she really thanks God for. “I never knew I could plan my money this way,” she said, adding that the knowledge acquired through World Concern has become ‘a key that has unlocked my other sources of income.’

The mother of 8 now manages yields from family dairy cows and banana farm in the same fashion. For her, farming is no longer a hobby. It has become a business.

Anne_Turgut_World_Concern_ASCA_BananaFrom her second loan of Ksh 3,200 ($38), Anne purchased cabbage seeds which were ready to be transplanted from a nursery a day after this interview.