TODAYS GUEST: Jen Gurecki of Zawadisha.
Zawadisha is a word meaning “to give a gift” and this organization does just that. Zawadisha’s mission is to empower, entrust and expand opportunities for women in Kenya through micro-lending that is pro-poor, pro-woman, and pro-environment. Kenya has a 40% unemployment rate, and women, especially if uneducated, have the hardest time getting work. Providing micro loans to these women contributes to the health, family, community and environment of the women and those they care for.
These loans allow the women to maintain their dignity and pride as they provide for their families with tangible items such as clean cook stoves, (use less coal) solar lamps (allowing for safety and after dark studying as well as replacing paraffin lamps which are bad for respiratory health) and water tanks ( allowing up to 6 hours a day free from having to carry water as well as improving hygiene).
These micro loans are also used to start up businesses or grow existing businesses. Jen gave an example of a woman named Vera. Vera owned a salon on the outskirts of town. She used her first micro loan to buy “weaves”. When that loan was paid off she got another, which allowed her to move her salon into the center of the town. Both of her children are able to continue attending school due to her success. Vera loves these micro loans because they are so transparent, easy and stress free.
Zawadisha’s model is:
- Contribute to the woman’s health, family, community and environment
- Distribute micro loans
- Safe and stress free borrowing
- Collaborative decision making and local female leadership.
Although this non-profit has only been around a few years it has made a huge difference in the lives of the women of Kenya. In 2015 the goal is to give out 1000 loans, to date there have been 401 loans issued. To find out more about Zawadisha go to www.Zawadisha.org.