Each group elects a Management Committee (Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and Controller). Dues and savings are collected at weekly meetings. Each group makes its own cash box with three locks. The Chairperson, Comptroller, and Secretary each have a key to one of the locks while the Treasurer, who has no key, keeps the cash box. All four members of the management committee have to be present to open the box, which is only opened at group meetings.
Initially, the amount in the group fund is very small. As it gets larger, the women can begin to issue loans, so that the money does not remain in the cash box, but is circulating and earning interest.
Women start and run businesses, but also learn about the ideas and practices of business through book-learning together. In fact, women learn to read and improve their reading skills while studying the practical matters of business. They use a series of books called Women in Business.
The first book in the series, Our Group, utilizes the key word method and teaches women basic sounds, letters and numbers, and principles for developing strong groups. With the help of local literacy volunteers, the women work through this first book together.
The second book, Road to Wealth, teaches about savings, responsible lending and borrowing, and basic bookkeeping principles. It shows how basic arithmetic can help you to keep track of funds.
The books are reinforced by the Selling Made Simple pamphlet series that presents small business marketing strategies for adults, who are newly literate.
Building small businesses is a key component of WORTH, and women are encouraged to build businesses related to what they already know how to do, gearing their businesses to the local markets. Many women familiar with subsistence farming choose to grow gardens, raise goats or chickens, while others near towns engage in petty trade. WORTH recommends diversifying enterprises to spread risk and increase reliability of income streams. Developing a diverse approach takes time.
The WORTH project is a community action model that engages women in protecting and caring for their communities. Community education clusters focus on developing skills to respond to shared concerns.
Women already care for their communities. Acting together with new skills, they can help mobilize men, women and children to respond to the challenges of human trafficking, malaria and HIV/AIDS in a way that upholds the WORTH of all.
- WHY TRAFFICKING?
Kenya is a source, recipient and transit destination for human trafficking.
- The communities selected are highly recruited for domestic “work” in the Middle East. 99% of domestic workers in Middle East Countries were not protected by labor laws as of 2010. The main recruiting country is Saudi Arabia, which only ended legally sanctioned slavery in 1962, so the practice is less taboo than other places (www.haartkenya.org).
- The situation is so severe that the Kenyan government actually banned its citizens from migrating out of Kenya for domestic work in 2012. The ban does not protect those who were already there or those who travel despite it, in search of work.
- Some of the project’s target areas have rates of unemployment as high as 60%.
The anti-trafficking training deals with how to use precautions to avoid being exploited as a trafficking victim and how to help survivors recover and be welcomed back when they return home.
- WHY MALARIA?
Malaria is highly preventable and treatable, yet:
- 20% of children’s deaths under the age of 5 in Kenya are caused by malaria.
- In 2012 one of every 20 deaths from malaria worldwide occurred in Kenya.
- More than half of mothers on the coast have not heard, watched or read any information about the most common antimalarial medicine.
The malaria training deals with prevention and treatment.
- WHY HIV/AIDS?
HIV/AIDS is highly preventable. With access to treatment, a person living with HIV can live as long as they would be expected to live as a person living without HIV.
- 6 Million adults are living with HIV in Kenya in 2014.
- The HIV prevalence rate is 6.1% of adults – Official Statistics Kenya’s Ministry of Health (nacc.or.ke)
- 1% prevalence rate is considered an epidemic by UNAIDS.
The HIV/AIDS training deals with how the virus is transmitted and how to reduce the likelihood of its transmission, the value of being tested for HIV and living with HIV/AIDS.