Our Fursa initiative in the Kibwezi region of Kenya has been running since 2019. FURSA (meaning Opportunity in Swahili) is an initiative to assist disabled people and their families to create their own sustainable enterprises.
The Kenyan region of Kibwezi, particularly Makueni County, is mostly rural and there is a lot of poverty and literacy levels are low. There is very little public welfare and people with disabilities rely on family support to survive.
Together with Fursa initiative coordinator Dr Cecilia Nyaga and our local Disabled Peoples Organisation partners we are striving to secure sustainable future livelihoods for all Fursa group members.
Since being awarded joint pilot funding from the Welsh government’s Wales and Africa programme in 2019, our FURSA initiative initially enabled three cooperatives of disabled people and their families to trade independently in order to sustain their future livelihoods.
Each Fursa cooperative group has a democratically elected committee to have control of micro loans to enable group members enterprises to develop and grow organically, in accordance to members abilities.
Loans are paid back at rate of interest that is considerably less than what money lenders demand which would normally be the only access to funds. The interest generated contributes to the groups operational expenses and support new members of the cooperatives. This has proved to be successful and many Fursa group members enterprises are now self funding or able to borrow larger amounts from the micro loan funds to develop their enterprises.
The therapeutic, financial and community benefits enterprise can provide to people with disabilities and their families is priceless and there are now eleven Fursa groups with over two hundred and fifty members.
Due to the success of the Fursa initiative further joint funding from Welsh Governments Wales and Africa Programme has enabled Fursa groups to have access to digital technology, solar power and advice on soil type/structure using organic methods to protect the environment and improve yields which is lessening impact on the environment.
Many Fursa group members grow fruit, vegetables and grains in small plots and in areas where they live and pesticides are often the cause of illness. The Fursa cooperatives now having access to organic farming methods, digital and solar technology which is improving growth yields and communications. Several of these remote communities have no access to the power grid and are now able to network in order to sustain their livelihoods.
All the Fursa groups and their members have independently set up the Kibwezi Fursa PWD’s Empowerment CBO (fursalife.org).
Through lived experiences so much is being continually learned that the Fursa initiative will soon be able to be spread to other regions of Kenya and beyond.
With our partners we are excavating to source water in Ngulu district of Makueni County in readiness to sink a solar powered bore hole due to serious drought. The high cost of transporting water into the region is creating hygiene and health concerns for poor communities.
We are currently partnering with Rotary Club Kitengela to excavate for a reliable fresh water source in order to sink a solar powered borehole in Ngulu district of Makueni County
Climate change and water management awareness guidance is being provide to all Fursa groups and members throughout the Kibwezi region in order to sustain future livelihoods and maintain independence.
This water excavation, climate change and water management awareness project is Joint funded by Welsh Government’s Wales Africa Grant scheme, administered by WCVA .
Support from individuals, like minded groups, DPO partners, organisations and our project funders is enabling ResponsABLE assistance to empower so many people.