Situation Analysis

Kenya is a lower middle-income country with a growth rate of 5.7% per annum. However, major disparities in economic and social mobility exist within the gender divide. The country’s gender inequality index is at 0.549 ranking Kenya at 137 out of 160 countries globally as at 2018 showing that women are underrepresented in both political and economic spheres despite being the majority at 51% of the population. The project will target widows in Kibera in Nairobi County. Most of Kibera slum residents live in extreme poverty, earning less than $1.00 per day. Unemployment rates are high. Persons living with HIV in the slum are many, as are AIDS cases. A great majority living in the slum lack access to basic services, including electricity, running water, and medical care.
Kibera is the largest slum in Nairobi, and the largest urban slum in Africa. The 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census reports Kibera’s population as 170,070, contrary to previous estimates of one or two million people. Most of Kibera slum residents live in extreme poverty, earning less than $1.00 per day and the neighborhood is completely safe

AWE Response

Capacity building for Widows and communities towards Economic Empowerment in Kibera informal settlement, Nairobi Kenya.

The project seeks to build the capacity of a group of 15 widows and cascade to other vulnerable women (WVW) in Kibera and potentially reach the entire informal dwellers in Kibera Kenya. The aim is to empower them through technical capacity building to develop successful small businesses and contribute more towards improved family livelihoods and general community development. Likewise, creating sustainable income, reduction of the grinding poverty and hopelessness. Furthermore, with the novel Coronavirus pandemic these women and slum dwellers generally are the most vulnerable in terms of lack of access to food, healthcare, water and even affording the recommended health guidelines such as social distancing because of one roomed structures they live in. Covid-19 promises to be devastating to people who live in the slums with poor infrastructure and lack of basic social amenities. It is, further, exacerbated by lack of daily chores which they depend on for survival.
This action’s main approach proposes training of 15 widows to participate in income generating small scale businesses as the direct beneficiaries while cascading to potential indirect beneficiaries. This is to bridge the “gap” between communities and poverty reduction mechanisms commonly attributed to the low capacity of communities to identify, participate and make informed decisions on their own gainful opportunities. Likewise, missed opportunities for government policies to prioritize small businesses and increased investments in business development and incubation.
The action is delivered through two approaches.

  1. Capacity building: Strengthening the capacity of the target group to develop small innovative enterprises and engage with and respond to the needs faced by the community members. Strategies include technical support, training and mentorship on the development of small business, entrepreneurship and improved business information management systems and marketing and further address the major underlying causes of poverty and gender inequality.
  2. Lobbying and advocacy for public policy change: The project will use the evidence from the lessons learnt to inform the necessary policy changes focusing on vulnerable women. This action provides unique opportunities for learning and sharing lessons across communities in Kibera but also across different parts of Kenya that face similar challenges.

Results and Accomplishments

AWE’s efforts have resulted in:

  • 30 widows trained by project running small micro-enterprises (SMEs). At least 3 Subsectors analyzed and value chains identified AWE trained 15 widows who cascaded the training to other 15 widows in the slums
  • Widows Sensitized on their rights and entitlements of widows’ and disadvantaged groups
  • Supported community dialogues on perception on the roles of women in the society including decision making to change male perspectives on women entrepreneurship
  • Increased civil society engagement
  • Other Projects include

    1. Widows economic empowerment in Kitale which include lobbying for more widow workers in the private coffee
    farmers partner with the private coffee farmer of the western region.

    2. Awe is currently looking for an investor who will help build coffee lab within the region that will help in roasting and packaging of coffee.

    3. Kakamega widows which include domestic and commercial farming with an eye on climate action.

    4. Magadi widows. This project is to tackle water problems and farming.