At Wildlife Works, we believe in empowering women to overcome societal limitations imposed on them by continuously supporting and investing in projects that enable women to make an independent livelihood. We are proud to announce the inclusion of our newest partner in these efforts.
The Zawadisha Fund, a non-governmental and non-profit microfinance organization that provides affordable loan facilities to groups of women around Kenya, began work in the Marungu area of the Kasigau Corridor late last year and is already tremendously influencing the lives of marginalized women in the area.
On their arrival to Marungu, leaders of the organization met with us to discuss the scope of their project in order to avoid overlapping and conflict of services. They also held meetings with women groups in the area to ruminate on what financial help they needed the most.
As of now, Zawadisha is working with two women groups in the area, Neema and Tumaini. The two groups have already received eco-loans in the form of water tanks and solar lights.
“Traditionally we have provided loans for small businesses. However, it became clear after our visit in October to Marungu Town that what women needed and wanted was solar lamps and water tanks — that is what they asked for instead of loans for businesses,” says Jennifer Gurecki, who is the chief innovation officer at Zawadisha.
“By providing loans for items such as water tanks, we are helping women mitigate a changing climate in a sustainable way. Rather than drilling a well that will deplete aquifers over time, rain water catchment tanks are a sustainable way to obtain water – we are working with the environment rather than against it,” she added.
Water captured in the water tanks will be sold to the community during droughts when all the water reservoirs have dried up in Kasigau. This will prevent members of the community from having to walk huge distances for access to clean water, both for domestic use as well as in their farms and to grow tree seedlings.
As most in the region do not have cell phone charging capabilities in their homes, the solar lamps are significant to the community. By using the enhanced solar lamps to charge phones for other members of the community for a small fee, the Tumaini Women Group will be generating income in one of the most ecological ways available- harnessing solar energy! These loans are highly viable to the women of Kasigau and it could prove to be a colossal step towards structuring a life of financial stability for their families.
According to Jennifer Gurecki providing loans to fund eco-friendly ventures is a break from the norm. Before they made their way to the Kasigau Corridor, the Zawadisha Fund had been providing small business loans to women groups in other parts of Kenya including Eldoret, Nairobi, Kilgoris and Kitale.
Apart from providing eco-loans to the two groups of women, Zawadisha has also been offering very lively and well-attended seminars and workshops that offer financial literacy and self-defense lessons to the women.
We feel honored to work in partnership with Zawadisha and support their funding of the eco-friendly projects of the two women groups. It gratifies us to see the women of Kasigau obtaining loans related to environmental conservation and we hope to continue working in close partnership with Zawadisha and the surrounding community. It is our joy to see the women of Kasigau empowered in ways that advance our environmental conservation ideologies.