We recognise that to bring about real and lasting change for as many people as possible, we need to influence and empower the communities we work with. This means that our projects are designed to be scaled up and rolled out locally, thus meaning as many of our orphans and their guardians can receive vital services for sustainability.
It is crucial that our projects are sustainable, so they can continue to provide vital care and support for people for years to come. The projects range from goat rearing, grafted mangoes, fish farming, cassava and maize farming to microfinance.
We believe that making sure everyone, including the most disadvantaged, is involved in their community’s development is key to reducing poverty.
Community development cuts across all two of our other themes (education, health). For example, TMT’s model for combating poverty is rooted in community involvement. Volunteers are nominated to take responsibility for the management and implementation of livelihood projects.
We are supporting projects in Rachuonyo North which seek to ensure that our orphans’ guardians are included in community life, and are having their needs addressed. Community volunteers already exist to represent orphans and their guardians
A vibrant tree nursery has been developed at the TMT Social Enterprise Farm. Tissue culture bananas, grafted mangoes, ornamental trees and timber producing trees are available and sold at affordable rates.
- The piggery project has picked very well and currently has------ pigs. You can buy pork from the farm on order or by just walking into the farm at an affordable cost.
- There are currently six fish ponds well stocked with tilapia. The sizable ponds each has 1000 fish which help in income generation when harvested.
Microfinance is a general term to describe financial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services. Microfinance is also the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. While some studies indicate that microfinance can play a role in the battle against poverty, it is also recognized that is not always the appropriate method, and that it should never be seen as the only tool for ending poverty.
It's easy to imagine poor people don't need financial services, but when you think about it they are using these services already, although they might look a little different. According to a recent survey conducted by TMT among the local communities that we work with, poor people save all the time, although mostly in informal ways. They invest in assets such as domestic animals, and things that can be easily exchanged for cash. They may set aside corn from their harvest to sell at a later date. They bury cash in the garden or stash it under the mattress. They participate in informal savings groups where everyone contributes a small amount of cash each day, week, or month, and is successively awarded the pot on a rotating basis. Some of these groups allow members to borrow from the pot as well. The poor also give their money to neighbors to hold.
However widely used, informal savings mechanisms have serious limitations. It is not possible, for example, to cut a leg off a goat when the family suddenly needs a small amount of cash. In-kind savings are subject to fluctuations in commodity prices, destruction by insects, fire, thieves, or illness (in the case of livestock). Informal rotating savings groups tend to be small and rotate limited amounts of money. Moreover, these groups often require rigid amounts of money at set intervals and do not react to changes in their members' ability to save. Perhaps most importantly, the poor are more likely to lose their money through fraud or mismanagement in informal savings arrangements than are depositors in formal financial institutions. The poor rarely access services through the formal financial sector. They address their need for financial services through a variety of financial relationships, mostly informal.
In this project TMT is currently focused on capacity building of the community members so that they are able to manage the meagre financial resources that they have. We carry out loaning and savings for them and supervise the projects that they have opted to engage their money into. Some members are already engaged in table banking processes and only require supervision and elements or proper record keeping that is offered by TMT staff. We believe that Microfinance helps very poor households meet basic needs and protect against risks; The use of financial services by low-income households is associated with improvements in household economic welfare and enterprise stability or growth; By supporting community members’ economic participation, microfinance helps to empower men and women, thus promoting gender-equity and improving household well-being; For almost all significant impacts, the magnitude of impact is positively related to the length of time that these people have been in the program."
Currently, TMT is working with a total of 100 members in microfinance. These members are actively engaging and have been given adequate training on how to manage resources, and they operate in various groups. All of them are either parents or guardians of the orphans registered with TMT Kenya. We are targeting more sessions for training to enhance their ability and capacity for family sustainability.