Self-Help Groups: An Oasis of Economic empowerment

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SUCCESS STORY OF THE DALATU SELF-HELP GROUP [caption id="attachment_603" align="alignnone" width="750"]Dalatu SElf-Help Group posing for a picture with Caritas Marsabit Livelihood Officers Photo / Wilfred Letawa (Dalatu SElf-Help Group (SHG) posing for a picture with Caritas Marsabit Livelihood Officers.  Photo / Wilfred Letawa)[/caption] Dalatu is a Borana word that means sprouting. Dalatu is a Youth Self-Help Group (SGH) found in Boru Haro village in Sagante ward. The group comprises of 15 members, 13 male and 2 female. The group was started 5 months ago and supported by strengthening community resilience program through Caritas Marsabit. The population of the village is 136 and mainly relies on livestock keeping and subsistence farming which is purely rain dependent. Like most areas in Kenya, youths in this area are faced with a lot of challenges ranging from unemployment to drugs. Dalatu youth members decided to put together a monthly contribution of 200 Kenya shillings per member as monthly savings for the group. The contribution is collected during the mid-month meeting which is one of the most important occasions for the group since it’s during this meeting that the group deliberates developmental issues and group welfare for self-sustenance which is the goal of the program. As at 30th September 2016, the group has saved a total of 15,000 Kenya shillings. Part of the collected sum has been used to empower group members through provision of loan at an interest rate of 10%. Out of 15 members, 13 have already benefited from the loans. Currently, the members are engaging in various individual Income generating activities. Some are bodaboda operators and others are retailers. [caption id="attachment_605" align="alignnone" width="750"](Guyo Boru, one of the successful group members that benefited from the loans issued by the group) (Guyo Boru, one of the successful group members that benefited from the loans issued by the group. Photo / Wilfred Letawa)[/caption] Guyo Boru a 22 year- old lad, is a member of Dalatu Self- help group who benefitted from the loan. Like many youths from the locale, Guyo is a form four leaver who was not lucky to pursue his dream career due to financial problems. Guyo believe that poverty is not a destiny and can be eradicated through positive attitude. When he completed his O level, Guyo operated his neighbor’s bodaboda where he was able to save a small amount of money. After a year he opened a kiosk at the heart of the village. He sells the most needed household goods like sugar, oil, detergents, and flour. Like the nature of any other local business, it was not very quick and easy for him to start earning good profit as he wanted. This was contributed largely by low income among the population, and at times customers buy goods on credit. He could not access money from existing financial institution due to the requirements and lengthy procedures. Low profit returns and lack of access to loan from financial institutions lead to the stagnation of his business until he joined Dalatu Self-help group. Guyo appreciates the newly formed Dalatu Self- help group since it has come to his aid. It is the first time that Guyo has committed himself to be part of such a group due to fear for unpleasant experiences (frauds, disintegration) people share regarding their former groups. This expression prompted a question on what basis did he join this self-help group. The response was he received clear information from the beginning, being among the participants invited for SHG envisioning workshop, he confessed that he got to understand Self- help group model and how it works. He is motivated by the order and management of the cash. Moreover, the SHG is a self-propelling initiative that is sustainable. It is now his third time loan, each time getting a total of 3000Ksh. He said that it may not be much amount but it has a fulfilling effects since it is their own resource. It benefits one at individual and group level. This has enabled him revive his Kiosk. There is improvement in his stock as he can now buy goods in large quantities from the wholesale and sells in small quantities for retail prices which are a bit lower. This has shown improvements as much as his current business condition is concerned. The influx of customers to his business has also improved due to reduced prices. Apart from using loan money for business interest Guyo also admits that some of his loan money goes to his parents expenses as well as pay his siblings’ school fees. Guyo admits that SHG is an avenue to get to the next level and his willing to continue with the same spirit. The future plan of Guyo is to expand his business and get more profit. In long run he is planning to join higher learning institution as school based student. He also wants the SHG grow into a higher level of CLA so that they benefit in a big way. Story By: Catherine Buke Duba, Livelihood Officer & Wilfred Letawa, Communication Intern        ]]>