Women micro enterprise
In the Lugari area of Kenya, employment is very low and women have difficult lives, especially when trying to provide their children with an education. Each December LCRC has a Baby Welcoming Day. All children born in that year are welcomed with their parents for a day workshop on the campus. Lunch is served and workshops are available. A doctor is on site to give advice and speak to the assembled parents. Nurses can help with questions and child care needs. They learn about early childhood education and the importance of play. The The only Library in the area is also available for members. Each mother will have learned how to make a simple book to share with her child. Through another WHISCA initiative, each child leaves with a hand knitted doll or ball.
Village elders are included and each year this event is becoming more popular. Last December 120 mothers attended and a handful of fathers. Women really need empowerment.
In 2014 Micro Financing began for the first time. The request for help raising their children came from several women who were'n't married and had twins to raise. Their families had turned them out.
A two week course was arranged with the bank to teach financial wellness and responsibility. Thirty women attended and are working in groups of 10 on their chosen project. They will showcase their work at the LCRC AGRICULTURAL FAIR in November.
Women are not generally perceived as legitimate participants in decision-making processes. This affects women’s business activities and contributes to their difficulties when dealing with governmental institutions, suppliers, banks and customers.
Women entrepreneurs do not have the same access to material and financial resources and market information as men. Although some women entrepreneurs have more access to funding, it does not automatically give them the power to make decisions on the use of the income generated by their work. Very often, men still have decision-making power over their wife’s business and earnings. In addition, accessing credit remains a challenge for most women particularly for the poor and ethnic minorities as most financial institutions do not provide adequate services and women cannot provide collateral.
Gender roles are in transition. Gender stereotypes have not really changed from earlier decades, although the daily tasks of women have changed dramatically in recent years. For instance, women have traditionally been expected to work in the household or community and not seek income in the “business world”. Success of women entrepreneurs can take a long time to be appreciated by the community.
LCRC would really like to expand this project in 2015 and add six more groups to the program. The format would be the same: a two week course to understand the process and appreciate financial responsibility. Lunch would be served and porridge at snack time. There would be a need for office supplies. They would prepare a plan and sign for their money The groups of 10 would receive $200. 15% would be available for unexpected disasters or natural causes of catasrophy. Their reporting sessions would be set on the calendar. Celebrating would be public at the end of their course.
Women entrepreneurs have fewer opportunities compared to male entrepreneurs who have more opportunities to take part in training and social activities. Women spend more time on reproductive work and housework. This is one of the main reasons women are more likely to enter into micro enterprises and are less likely to have formal business education. As well, women have less access to formal credit. Only 18% of the loans from formal sources of credit are provided for women, mainly because a lack of collateral when their names do not appear on Land Use Certificates.
The context for women in Kenya has also changed. Women are coping with traditions and new gender norms, women are taking on more responsibility in securing family income without support from men, while at the same time maintaining their traditional roles in caring for children and carrying out household duties. They remain however underprivileged in their economic activities, in having access to credit, access to land and have more burdensome workloads than men.