The Value Girls Program: Jane’s Story
Jane Atieno and her husband spent the past 13 years in Mbita on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, buying and selling fish in the local market. Jane was already an entrepreneur, but when the number of fish started to dwindle, so did her income.
Jane joined a program called the Value Girls Program, funded by the Nike Foundation and USAID and implemented by Cardno Emerging Markets USA, Ltd. KickStart received a grant to provide MoneyMaker pumps and training. Jane was selected to be a Mentor to a group of seven younger women, and she quickly became an inspiration to them.
Jane facilitated weekly group meetings to train the women to manage a business, and also in irrigation methods, farm inputs, and different types of seeds. Because the MoneyMaker pump can push water uphill and also pull it up from a well, Jane demonstrated how easy and economical it was to distribute water on her farm without using electricity or fuel.
"Owning a pump has given me independence and self confidence. Before, I relied on my husband and when he was not there, I was unable to be self-sufficient,” Jane explained. “Now, I am able to farm on my own.” During the first dry season, when vegetables were much harder to find in the Mbita marketplace, Jane made a great deal more money with her new income source, inspiring the other young women to try irrigated vegetable farming with a MoneyMaker pump.
With a KickStart MoneyMaker pump, women are lifting themselves and their families out of poverty quickly and affordably. The number of women entrepreneurs in Kenya using MoneyMaker pumps has doubled in the past year because of these gender-focused programs:
MOBILE LAYAWAY: KickStart’s unique Mobile Layaway program enables more women to buy pumps by using their mobile phones and saving up a few shillings at a time, in a safe and secure way.
TAKING THE PUMP TO THE WOMAN: Women farmers travel far less frequently into town centers than men do, so KickStart takes the extra step to travel out to their rural farms to demonstrate pumps where the women are.
MORE WOMEN FIELD STAFF: Women feel more comfortable and at ease buying pumps from other women, so KickStart has hired more women as field staff.
PARTNERSHIP WITH WOMEN’S GROUPS: KickStart’s field reps are reaching out in particular to women’s saving and lending circles since groups of women are more inclined to invest in income generating technologies than a woman by herself.
MARKETING MESSAGING: Studies show that women pay more attention to nurturing-type messages than power messaging, so KickStart has created targeted marketing strategies aimed specifically at women (such as earning a logo-branded wrap skirt - a kanga - instead of a baseball cap).
Funded by Nike Foundation and USAID and implemented by Cardno Emerging Markets USA, Ltd., the Value Girls Program works with young women aged 14 to 24 in the Lake Victoria region to help increase their income, savings, and self confidence through small enterprise development in poultry and vegetable farming, in order to reduce their dependence on the fishing industry.