About the Inuana project
With the support from Danida, the ‘Inuana’ Project is helping parents and caregivers to actively support their children’s education in Turkana County. Together with our partner, Sustainable Approaches for Community Empowerment (SAPCONE), DCA supports parents and caregivers to start Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) groups to empower them economically. Inuana means ‘lift each other up’ in Swahili, and this approach is enabling communities living in an area impacted by multiple climate-related challenges to do just that.
Access to basic education in Turkana
Just like other nomadic communities in arid and semi-arid counties in Kenya, access to basic education in Turkana is a challenge to many students. Located in an area hit hardest by climate related challenges, access to education becomes a mirage. Parents inability to support their children education due to lack of economic means, coupled with schools lacking equipped infrastructure and personnel, many students opt to drop out of school.
With the help of community facilitators, students in 30 schools were selected for support under the project due to a lack of basic scholastic materials. Their parents or caregivers were supported to form VSLA groups to empower them economically to be able to support their children’s education. The group members were trained on business skills and financial literacy and supported to develop a group constitution to govern membership. They were also supported with other materials such a box to keep their savings, padlocks to secure the box, ledger, and passbooks to keep records of savings and loans, and most importantly a 10,000 shillings (approximately 64 USD) grant to start off their savings.
When vulnerable children were identified in 30 schools in Turkana County, Kenya, their parents or caregivers were supported to form VSLA groups to empower them economically to be able to support their children’s education.
The group members were trained on business skills and financial literacy and supported to develop a group constitution to govern membership.
Members access loans
Members access loans with a 10% interest. They use the loans to start and/or support their business, and for basic needs, such as buying food and clothes for their children and medical emergencies. Members savings ranges from 200 – 1000 shillings per week, with higher savings qualifying members for larger loans. Savings are generated from fishing – the main source of livelihoods for communities living along Lake Turkana – including from providing labour to local fishermen and even hawking fish. By December 2023, Jordan and Akimorikin VSLA groups had saved 97,000 shillings (approximately 615 USD) and 100,000 shillings (approximately 617 USD) respectively.
Roda Asinyen and Dinah Akai, members of the two groups, have each taken loans from the group for different reasons.
Roda’s husband passed on more than a decade ago while her six children were young. Roda was left to raise the family alone, with limited support. The only income she had was meeting allowances from her role as board chairperson at a nearby school. That was not enough to raise the kids and so she resorted to brewing local liquor and soon ran into troubles with local administration chiefs. She also tried her hand at weaving baskets which she could sell in the market within her local shopping centre. Since joining Jordan VSLA group, Roda has taken loans to support and sustain her family.
When my child fell sick, I took a 4,000 KES (USD 25) loan from the group. I paid transport to Lodwar hospital, 100 km away. I also paid for medical bills, and we came back when my child got better.” Roda Asinyen
Dinah’s child, who is in grade 4, is the one being supported in the project. Since her husband is a fisherman, their income is meagre and cannot take care of their children needs. When her child was onboarded in the project, Dinah joined the Akimorikin VSLA group together with other parents and guardians. The cash box containing the savings is kept securely at her home. Dinah took a loan to start a small hotel business.
I have taken loans severally to pay for my children’s medical, school fees and I have also started a small hotel business where I sell snacks and food. My savings is now 15,000 shillings (approximately 97 USD). Dinah Akai.
She hopes that the financial literacy she has gained will enable her start and run even bigger business to enable her to support her children to finish schooling and get jobs to help her and her husband in future.
VSLA groups are hopeful of the future. Members are aiming to diversify their businesses. Once their savings allow, they would like each member to start and specialise in one business. Particularly, they want to major in large scale fishing, selling of fishing gears and starting a fish cold storage as a group. DCA and SAPCONE supports communities along the lake to access capital and receive business development trainings to help them achieve their goals, generate sustainable incomes, and keep their children learning!
SAPCONE-Sustainable Approaches For Community Empowerment was founded in 2006 and registered with the Department of Social Services and Development as a Community based organization that is mandated to spearhead socio-economic self-reliance as well as transformative sustainable development agenda. Read more here
About the donor
Danish International Development Agency (Danida) is the brand used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark when it provides humanitarian aid and development assistance to other countries, with focus on developing countries. Read more here