Economic Empowerment

Image of woman thinking

Thinking of what’s ahead

A healthy economy is the engine that provides revenue for improved food security, better education and facilities, and churches with resources to make greater strides in sharing the good news.  Currently unemployment soars at about 95% and the average family struggles to survive through subsistence farming on less than $1 per day.  This because most people don’t have the means or mindset to start a new business.

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Irrigated Farming

At the root of resolving economic disparities is the ability to reliably grow crops on the small plot of land owned by most families. In the Karachuonyo region, water is the limiting factor for agricultural success. Plagued by two alternating seasons of drought and heavy rains each year, farmers attempt to time crops so that they get enough, but not too much, water. All too often, especially with a changing climate, the rains don’t cooperate and the crops fail. When this happens, there is no welfare. The people go hungry and many die—especially small children. A reliable supply of water for irrigation is the key to this dilemma. In other communities around sub-Saharan Africa, the use of various systems to collect rainwater for irrigation during drought seasons has been transformational.

Communities have been economically resuscitated when people dug specially configured water pits, or pans, on their land to collect rain water for irrigation. In addition, the implementation of other agricultural techniques such as crop diversification and rotation have improved nutrition and the economic value of crops. SOHI is working with community leaders to education and assist the Kenyans in implementing the mindset change, training, and assist with resource that will promote such innovations. It will also take financial assistance in certain areas to jump start the process. But elsewhere, history has shown that the result can be prosperity that hasn’t been known in this area for generations. Assessment and planning is in process for this initiative. Money is needed for training leaders, acquiring equipment to dig pits and canals, and pit liners. Any contribution from several hundred to several thousand dollars would be very helpful.

Small businesses

Small businesses are the foundation of a sustainable and growing economy. They are another avenue that helps the local economy by creating wealth and employment. SOHI assists groups seeking to start small businesses with training, mentoring, and seed money. A common model is similar to a micro-loan (which isn’t allowed by the Kenyan government). A group formalizes itself with a chairperson, secretary, treasurer and opens a bank account. Individuals or small subgroups within the main group come up with a business plan and are loaned money which is returned with interest. SOHI provides money as “seed money” giving the community a resource that is self-sustaining and actually grows over time while stimulating business. Typically, seed money is provided in $500 increments up to $2,000.

Examples of businesses that have been started to date include:

  • Poultry
  • Sewing of Clothes
  • Plant Nursery
  • Bee keeping
  • Goats
  • Cattle
  • Hybrid Seeds

 
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