So much is going on this month for Spirit in Action partners! I’m excited to share some of these exciting updates with you:
- Last Tuesday, experienced local coordinators Canaan Gondwe (Malawi) and Dennis Kiprop (Eldoret, Kenya) met with our newest Small Business Fund (SBF) Coordinator-in-training! We are so excited to welcome Ms. Wambui Nguyo of Nairobi to our SIA team. She will be working with families in the Korongocho slum in Nairobi to start small businesses and reach a new level of security. The training time reviewed SIA’s approach of starting small, communication skills as essential for success, and affirming and encouraging the groups at every step along the way. We’re so exited about this expansion of our small-grants program!
- New Trainings in Village Savings and Loans in Zambia. We’ve seen such inspiring success from the Manyamula Village Savings and Loans (MAVISALO) group in Malawi and now, partnering with Africa Hope Fund and Rotary International, two leaders from MAVISALO are traveling to Zambia at the end of June to host a workshop to help the Mfuwe Rotary club establish their own village bank. Village banks not only offer reasonable interest rates and a safe place to save, they also provide crucial access to small loans for businesses, emergency medical care, and school fees.
- New volunteer program with women in Kenya. The growing grassroots organization CIFORD Kenya, which supports women and girls and people with HIV/AIDS, is introducing a new volunteer program! CIFORD director, Margaret Ikiara, writes, “We are in the process of establishing a volunteer program for the people from outside Kenya, both students and people who wish to go for holiday but do some charity work. We are sure when these people come in the organization bring a lot of experiences and skills as they learn from the local people their culture, lifestyle and day to day activities.” Boyd and I had the opportunity to visit CIFORD when we were in Kenya and it was inspiring to see all the projects and gardens that these women are managing there.
- New ideas! The Best and Simplest Way to Fight Global Poverty, an article in Slate Magazine, reports on a study in Uganda that found that “Money with no strings attached not only directly raises the living standards of those who receive it, but it also increases hours worked and labor productivity, seemingly laying the groundwork for growth to come.” It’s an interesting short article and confirms some of the things we already see happening through our Small Business Fund grants.
We are so grateful for all these new opportunities, new learnings, and for our experienced, generous, capable partners in Kenya and Malawi! Thank you also to our donors who keep these programs growing!
“Walk joyfully on the earth and respond to that of God in every human being.” –George Fox