Being the first born in a family of eight with a Dad who was ever drunk posed a threat to attaining my dreams in life, most of the time I found myself taking care of my siblings while other children where in school studying, I lost hope. However, my resilience and efforts paid off after my high school when a relative assisted me join a college because had not failed in school irrespective of all the struggles; luckily I secured a Job immediately in a pharmaceutical company. At only 21 years of age I started earning a living and this was a start of my economic empowerment.
I saved some money to enroll in a university which took me five years before I joined ,I graduated in July 2009 a milestone which could have remained a dream if I had not attained economic empowerment at that early age. After graduating I secured another Job immediately in Microfinance bank and this was my turning point and a realization of how economic empowerment was important to women
I was fulfilled because the organization was giving money to low income earners to expand their businesses. This gave me a lot of Joy because I knew when the Women were actively involved in economic activities they would provide for their families and children wouldn’t miss school, a privilege that I never got. Education is important in unlocking opportunities for economic empowerment.
I had interacted with over 4000 women for close to six years before something started bothering me. I noticed the loans we were giving out were serviced well in the first and second series but when we gave out the third series which were a bit higher in amounts, they were highly defaulted; some women could hardly pay a shilling. This bothered me to a point that I went back to school to study entrepreneurship with hope of acquiring more knowledge to train them because I had not quite understood where the problem was and why their businesses were failing before the fourth anniversary.
Fortunately around that time I was given higher responsibility to supervise micro enterprises within the region, it is then when it dawned on me why the women who had just become economic empowered couldn’t sustain it. After interviewing several of them, I discovered they lacked financial and digital literacy, lack of basic book keeping , some had no idea of how they could get information through the internet, they knew the bank had digital banking but they didn’t know how to go about it, others genuinely confessed ,they started business because they saw their fellow women start , actually there was no innovation, their own skills and talents were not being utilized, basically it was just a replication of businesses and that’s why they couldn’t service their loans because the businesses were not sustainable and they lacked a place to acquire more skills since they were digital grounded
It is at that point I realized I needed to use my skills not only to further the dream of women Economic empowerment but also to have it sustained and passed to other generations. It is then that I honorably resigned from my loving Job to found a social enterprise that focuses on business mentorship, personal skills development and financial and digital literacy.
We are targeting 2000 Women and youth (to create good entrepreneurship foundation) in a year, those in business and the upcoming entrepreneurs through social media sensitization, forums, workshops and partnerships. Besides, I am also trying to come up with a program of women who dropped out of school due to lack of schools fees, early pregnancies, and early marriages on how they can be economically empowered to reinforce the importance of entrepreneurship in order to break the poverty circle.
An Economically Empowered Woman can access good health care for her family, can afford good education for her children, can be financially included and most important she can empower others too.