Inspired by everyday Kenyans who are positively impacting those around them, Safaricom Foundation is partnering with you to bring community dreams to life this year through the Uwezo Wetu Ndoto Zetu Initiative.
In February 2022, the Foundation gave a grant worth 100,000 shillings for a Posho Mill machine to Hope Kabiria Self-Help Group in Nairobi County.
The Posho Mill business has inspired, transformed, and uplifted the lives of the group members and the Kabiria community.
To find out how this grant has enabled the Group to register growth, Khusoko talked with Ms Milkah Kemunto, a member of the Group.
What Specific grant did Hope Kabiria Self Help Group Receive?
The Group received a Posho Mill Machine worth 100,000 shillings on 9th February 2022.
Why a Posho Mill Machine?
Before settling on the Posho Mill, the Group had tried other business options, including table banking and merry-go-round, which could have worked better for us.
When we saw an opportunity to get a grant with Safaricom Foundation through an advertisement on TV, we agreed that a Posho Mill machine would do well, mainly because it doesn’t need much work.
In addition, why we went for a Posho Mill is its convenience for the members. Most of them have small kiosks or shops, so it would be easy for everyone to sell the maize flour and make a profit that they could use as savings in the Group.
How have members benefited from the Posho Mill since you received the grant?
Just like we had envisioned, the grant has come through for the Kabiria Self-Help Group members.
When we started the Group, many members had fund problems and needed more time to make their savings contributions. The situation made it difficult for the Group to realize any progress in achieving our objectives and goals.
With the posho mill, we are now sure that we will be able to meet our long-term goals. Since most members have their small kiosks where they can directly sell the milled flour, they can make profits.
In the long run, this means that these members can now comfortably make their savings contributions in every meeting without any hurdles and get money for their personal use.
What are the Group’s long-term goals for your business?
We saw an opportunity to offer milling services, which has become another livelihood source for most of the members.
This business helps people who cannot afford the costly packed maize meal; besides, most households prefer the posho maize meal because it’s affordable and nutritious.
The uptake has been so fruitful that, as a group of 12 members, we now believe that we will achieve greater heights than we ever imagined.
With consistency in saving, the best idea will be to open a bank account and save for the next two to three years. Our projections by then are that we will have qualified for a bank loan.
With this, we plan to acquire a parcel of land that we will share equally amongst the 12 members. A parcel of land can be used for several businesses, the growth we desire.
Not just this (land), but we are also looking forward to continuing with other business options, such as table banking, to create additional sources of funds to start other projects.
Do you have any expansion plans? Onboarding new members?
Yes, we have been onboarding new members but not directly into the initial 12-member team. When we received the Posho Mill as a group, many people were impressed by what we do and showed interest in being part of the Group.
So, we decided to form another group of members, Kabiria Self Help Group B, using the same certificate.
Just like the original Group, group B members also enjoy the services of the Posho Mill and get an opportunity to do business.
What advice would you give to other self-help groups considering applying for a grant?
If you have a fresh idea and want to start your own business, grants are one of the best ways to fund your venture. I would first tell any group considering this to continue doing it. Why?
The number one advantage of business grants is that they are essentially free money. Grants need not be repaid, making them so appealing for business endeavours.
Secondly, there is much information about where, how, when, and who to apply for grants. This accessibility is essential because you’ll have to search for the right grant. But no matter what industry you’re getting into, there is a lot of information and resources at your fingertips.
The best thing is that once you’ve been awarded one grant, you’re more likely to receive others. Since someone has already recognized you, other organizations will see you as a reliable candidate.
One thing you must consider, though, is to learn how to use the fund correctly to grow.
The bottom line is if you’re willing to invest time in your idea, go for it!
Since its inception in 2019, the Ndoto Zetu initiative has reached nearly 3 million Kenyans. This year, the Safaricom Foundation aims to reach a further 2 million beneficiaries with projects worth 100 million shillings.