Every Friday over seven months women from Ngarariga village in Limuru gathered together in the large church social hall to be part of the Business Women Support Program (BWSP) training. It was a chance for the women to meet, but especially to resume their education. Most of the women attending the course had not gone beyond secondary school. The training was an opportunity for them to improve their business strengths and general life style. The training is aimed at uplifting the women’s lives as well as those of their families.
As Jane Gathoni commented at the start of the program: “’I am excited about the training Kianda Foundation is offering at Ngarariga, I expect to gain skills in business and catering to start my own business.”
The Kianda Foundation BWSP is helping to change the perspectives of thousands of women in rural and peri-urban areas around Nairobi. The program imparts not only practical skills (business management, cookery), but also life-skills, personal development and mentorship. Topics covered in the program include: business planning, record keeping, marketing, customer service, meal preparation, as well as the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
An important part of the training program is mentorship. Working in partnership with WONDER Foundation UK, mentorship ensures that the women continue to receive support even after the Kianda Foundation training program is concluded. For these two organizations, it’s all about “leaving a lasting legacy in the villages where we conduct our training programs. Seven months is not enough for a lifetime change in the women”.
In Ngarariga, 12 mentors were selected, trained and personally mentored by Foundation staff before starting their work. These are some comments from the new mentors:
“I learned about how to make good relationships with others by being a friend.”
“The topics we covered were very helpful, educative and enlightening.”
“It has enabled me to know myself better.”
“I loved the way I should listen before judging. Learning how to listen and be a confidante.”
The mentors work one on one with the women assigned to them, identifying areas where they require additional support. Where the mentors feel stuck, they can reach out to their own personal mentor at the Foundation. It is all about creating a society where the women support each other and continue on with the work, even as the Foundation moves on to train more women in other villages.
In December, 2021, the women in Ngarariga graduated from the program and we went back this month to find out how they are getting on. They had been able to come together and get advice on how to work for their goals. Currently they are brainstorming on how to start a small savings group.