By Samuel Abuya
It is widely said and agreed, that iron sharpens iron. This can be said of a Kenyan women group which pooled their cash to put up an apartment with at least 100 rooms and are now landlords.
This group from Kenya simply rewrote what has been the norm with most, or a good number, of saving groups and tread a new path that many have termed as “uncharted territories” as far as women groups across the continent are concerned.
The Murang’a County Women SACCO, as the cooperative group is known, basically decided not to toe the line and do the unusual. In most cases, such groups are related to making some small contributions to enhance the welfare of its members. It is with such small contributions that this Kenyan women group managed to pool together towards accomplishing a big project that would have been, in the eyes of many, unbelievable.
Last year, the Kenyan women group unveiled a students’ apartment block fully built from scratch by their own contributions, something which set a tone in their investment ventures.
The women are credited for raising almost $1 million that completed the 102-rooms apartment even though their daily contributions per person were as little as $0.1, in some instances. According to the women, they basically leveraged on their numbers to make sure that they did not lose sight off they target of becoming landlords.
Instead of sharing the contributions, this Kenyan women group opted to deny themselves and bought land, and did the 5-storey apartment with more than 100 rooms which will be hosting students from the neighbouring colleges and universities. This, however, didn’t come easy especially with lots of social and cultural difficulties that literally threatened to stall the project in many instances.
One member of the group, Grace Ndegwa, who lost her husband back in 2003 and a mother of two, struggled through but can now saw the fruits of her toil the day the project was officially opened. Her aspirations were, all through, to someday start a good business that would help bring up her family. Now, she is a proud co-owner of the property in question.
The women group is now six-years-old.
The completion of the project marked the opening of other opportunities as the women can now venture into other investments backed up with improved creditworthiness that can afford them even better and bigger financing from banks as well as Credit Cooperative Organizations, commonly referred to, in Kenya, as SACCOs.
The group seemed to have done their homework right buying land in a potential area that is populated with university students. Indicators from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show that by last year, the number of students enrolling in in Kenyan public and private tertiary institutions, which basically forms the primary target of this Kenyan women group in their investments, had shot up from 78.2% to 107.6%.
According to the women in this group, they are not resting any time soon with the achievement. Their eyes are still on the ball, looking forward to purchase another 2,000 acres of land from the proceeds that will be generated from the project they have already accomplished.
The group has also benefited from a Kenyan government’s directive that at least 30 percent of all tenders be given to women, the youth and people living with disabilities. This group, for instance, is said to have managed a tender to rehabilitate a road in their locality, a project which gave them some cool $300,000. This tender saw the women doing jobs like clearing bushes, concrete mixing and trench digging to mention a few.
This Kenyan women group is, typically, an excellent example of what great entrepreneurial minds can do when they come together.
Africa Global News Publication