Meliyo displaying one of her handmade necklaces.

Community Economic Empowerment

Defying the odds by walking out of an abusive marriage, Meliyo did not know she was setting herself up for trouble in the community.

Defying the odds by walking out of an abusive marriage, Meliyo did not know she was setting herself up for trouble in the community. Her decision to go back home to her parents would later come haunting as she was now left out of key decisions in the family including apportioning land to her to raise her family.

Community Managed Savings Groups

Currently the treasurer of the Nkoilale CMSG cluster, she has had to put in double effort to get whatever she has. Community Managed Saving Groups (CMSGS) are village-based saving groups, made up of members brought together by a common desire to achieve economic independence. Most groups are made up of 15-30 individuals who then select individuals amongst themselves as leaders to coordinate the group’s activities.

The group’s focus is to pool funds together through systematic periodic savings to build a capital base from which members can borrow at a minimum interest rate to address their short-term financial needs. Meliyo first joined the CMSG family in 2014 during the community mobilization meeting. She like her counterparts in the CMSG received training on saving, financial management, and economic empowerment through alternative income-generating activities.

Meliyo's journey

Starting with a daily saving of KES 200, she soon was able to take a loan which she used to invest in cattle for more income. Additionally, she started up a beading business from which she now makes over KES 1000 per item.

As a result of the savings and investment, Meliyo noticed an increase in income and immediately invested in real estate. She currently owns three separate plots of land which she was only able to purchase through the CMSG. Today Meliyo’s eyes are set on constructing houses for rent to boost her income. As a mother, she is now able to send her children to school with all the required scholastic materials.

A landowner

From nothing and no land to raise her family or pass on to her children-a very important aspect of the Masai culture, Meliyo is now a landowner.  She is currently purchasing building materials to start the construction of housing units that will be another source of income for her. Meliyo is all smiles when she reflects on how far she has come with the support of the CMSG group. She looks forward to expanding her real estate business as she believes it is the future of her village, Nkoilale, that is fast growing.

Through the CMSGs, most of the ladies in the communities where SF and her partners are working have been able to know and understand their worth beyond just being a mother and wife. With access to income, many of them have realized that their options are limitless. Like Meliyo says, “We now have access to larger loans which means we can do bigger business”.