After years of working for girls’ education in the northeastern and coastal regions of Kenya, we noticed one thing that seemed to keep more girls out of school than anything else: money. Sometimes it was not being able to pay school levies, and other times it was depending on daughters to generate income, but it was almost always something that could be solved by families having consistent and sustainable income sources. And of course, families themselves have the best ideas about what kinds of businesses work in their areas and for themselves.
We are now three months into an eight month program that provides business training and $20 a month to 939 families in the communities where we work. To receive the money every month, all the children in the family must be attending school, which we monitor with the help of head teachers and community health volunteers. In addition to educating their children, families are investing money in new businesses that will keep them financially stable—and keep their children in school—long after the project ends.
We’re excited to share some stories with you about what families are doing with this money. This is just Part 1, so stay tuned for Part 2!
Shufea’s five children all attend the local primary school, and have been doing even better in school since their mom used part of her cash transfer money to connect their house to the Kenya Power grid. Now that their house has electricity, they can keep studying and reading even after it gets dark outside!
She also bought six chickens, and is currently focusing on letting them produce more chicks. After a little while, she’ll begin selling the eggs for 10-15 cents each.
Shufea already owned a plot of land, but she didn’t have a way to irrigate it. The river is too far away for her to carry enough water to grow crops. But now she’s able to buy petrol to service a water pump in the area, and she’s able to buy sukuma wiki (collard green) seeds as well. She now sells the greens at the market in the nearest town. By using the cash transfer money to take advantage of the resources she already had, Shufea is building a more stable future for herself and her children.
Alimi’s oldest daughter, who loves science, attends school with her six siblings and Shufea’s children. Alimi used cash transfer money to buy chickens, but for now she’s focusing on using the eggs to make sure her children are getting enough protein. She’s happy that the chickens are able to provide her family with a more balanced diet!
Alimi also bought ten doves, and once they reproduce, she will begin selling the meat and eggs at the market to increase the family’s income. The cash will provide a safety net in case someone gets sick, and it will ensure that school levies can be paid!