Project: Vulnerable Children / Income-Generating Project

In Kenya it is estimated that 2.4 million children are classed as orphaned or vulnerable children. About 48% have been orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS. In the Mogotio district there are several cases where orphans are living with their neighbour, an aunt, or a grandmother because their parents have died. Development Pamoja runs a program whereby we offer assistance to twenty such children and their thirteen guardians.

We provide material assistance to enable these children complete their education. We purchase school uniforms, school desks, books, pens and other materials that the children are required to have to attend school.

As an organisation we don't think that assistance should be given for free as it leads to reliance on aid. We feel that it is unfeasible to provide aid without the community also trying to better their own lives. Therefore we also provided the guardians of these children with micro finance loans to help them to start small businesses. It is hoped that in time they can provide for the children's education themselves and will not be reliant on Development Pamoja.

One of the main problems in Mogotio is a lack of access to credit; there are no banks in the district and most people cannot afford to travel to the town on Nakuru to access credit. Even if they reach Nakuru most would not fit the criteria to receive a loan.

Before providing the money to the guardians, we conducted a two day seminar to educate them on how to manage money, how to keep good records and how to start a small business. Once this seminar was complete, each guardian wrote a business proposal, which was evaluated and, if deemed feasible, that guardian was provided with an interest free loan which was to be paid back over a period of eight months.

The projects ranged from growing tomatoes to opening shops and cafes. The loans ranged in size from €100 to €250. The projects were implemented in four small villages in the Mogotio district. The program was initiated in April 2011 and, like all new businesses, some were more successful than others. Nevertheless, each guardian has paid back their loan in full and an evaluation workshop was held in February 2012. This money will now be made available to the same guardians in the form of further loans.

We feel that implementing such programs provides constructive assistance to those we work with and teaches people responsibility. It also ensures that money donated to us goes further. The OVC program in its current state is funded solely by Caitrin Kelly and her family who, in December 2011 made another sizeable donation to this project to ensure we can expand the program.