Self-help groups are mutual support groups where members help each other to grow financially. Commonly known as ‘chamas’ in Kenya, they often take the form of small investment groups and have been a path to financial freedom for so many Kenyans. By donating funds to a self-help group, you will not only be helping 1 individual but an entire group of people as well.
The empowerment of self-help groups is an integral component of poverty alleviation and economic development. The community groups’ are recognized as a source of social power for sustainable and meaningful development. Indeed, the majority of the organized groups – welfare groups, funeral associations, merry-go-rounds, adult literacy groups, farmers’ cooperatives, self-help groups, CBO’s and table banking groups have the potential to solve community development problems.
It is evident that groups and specifically women’s groups have played a key role in community development since the pre-colonial period in Kenya. For instance, through the women’s “Mwethya”, groups are able to play a significant role in community-based development activities, which are very broad and complex.
However, Self-Help groups and similar community groups in Kamba Nation experience various challenges. The major challenges facing the groups include;
- Inadequate training on different activities,
- Livestock and crop pests and diseases,
- The inadequate market for the farm produce,
- Lack of managerial skills and information
At Mbaitu Foundation, we will work with respective ministries within the three counties and commit to transforming the engagement and support to these groups. This is through focusing on capacity development and training in partnership with local universities, develop systems that will work towards economic empowerment, and put mechanisms in place to ensure the social protection of group members.
These efforts will transform the approach towards the community groups and empower the realization of economic development across the three counties of Kitui, Machakos, and Makueni.