Small Business Enterprise
The widows must bring cash into the household to stay alive and raise their children and grandchildren. Before their husbands died, these women were engaged primarily in subsistence farming on small family plots, i.e., "shambas". They also performed all the household tasks such as child care, cleaning, cooking, and washing clothes - all without electricity or running water. Often they care for more children than just their own - brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and elderly parents, and so on. The widows' husbands had the jobs that provided cash for the household, but they are gone..
Our donors helped CLOUT Cares assist the widows to start small businesses - generally selling foodstuffs and sundries from "kiosks" at or near their homes or at stalls in local market places.
CLOUT Cares also provided funds for sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and/or cows thanks to generous donors. When we visit, we see the animals and their many offspring being raised at the widows' houses and shambas. We are happy to report that almost every widows has turned enough profit to buy one cow or more, and the responsibility for their businesses and livestock is now theirs entirely - we now just advise.
Through a program initiated with starter funds from CLOUT Cares donors, the widows collectively cultivate napier grass on land originally provided by our CLOUT counterparts in Kenya. The widows sell the grass as cattle fodder. They also grow and sell soy beans. With income from these crops plus a small portion of the income from their individual businesses, the widows are able to plant and grow maize collectively, some of which they sell and some of which they give to the neediest among their group so they can provide lunch for their children in primary school.