Sebastian M. is coming to volunteer at CBSM in a few weeks time. Sebastian is studying geography at the University of Marburg in Germany. He is especially interested in the topics of education and sustainable agriculture. We are thrilled that he is coming to Kimilili and work together with the CBSM Gardening Vocational Training Program.

Chris (Australia) and Arthi (USA) have been working hard to make up learning modules for the women gardening co-ops. Sebastain will use these learning modules to hold a series of agriculture workshops for these groups during his visit in August: Composting, Maize pest prevention, Seed identification, handling and storage. These are all subjects of great interests to the women and youths of CBSM.
Sebastian and Wilfred (or Kimilili supervisor) will also be working together with the youth group to build  “zero emission fridges” for the storage of seeds, maize, and beans. These silos were originally made in Mozambique, but are easily reproducible in other rural areas.

We are all very interested to see whether or not they will help reduce loss of seeds through various diseases (e.g. weevils). If they do work, this will mean that the women co-ops can store maize in bulk and then sell the seeds at times when the prices are higher and the demand is greater.
by Rev. Wasike and Lia

Now that sister Millicent is situated in her new home, we are thinking about holding another Best Business Training Workshop. If all goes well, we will hold Worshop II (Workshop I was last spring) at the end of October. The outline looks the following:

Workshop II

Participants: up to 21 of the participants who attended the first best business practice workshop (all the 8 Village Phone Operators (VPOs)).

Trainers: Rev. Wasike as spiritual guide and motivator, Millicent and Ericah for business practice training, Wilfred and Samuel for agriculture and garden practice training

Goals: The goal of this workshop is to deepen the knowledge of the participants’ best business practices, as was taught in the first workshop, and to create an exchange of business experiences (e.g. Janerose’s and Margaret’s Village Phone Salons (VPS)) so that others can learn from each other.

Time: a whole day’s workshop

Location: CBSM school

Needed volunteers: persons to prepare beverages and midday meal

Workshop schedule should include time to do the following:

  • to repeat some of the business material content from the last workshop to refresh their memories
  • to explain in more detail some of the topics that were discussed only briefly the first time
  • to explain new information about possible small-scale gardening and agricultural practices
  • to discuss different small scale business ideas
  • to calculate the finances needed to set up these business models
The morning is taken up with theory and the afternoon is separated into two groups; the VPS groups and the agricultural groups.

The participants were eager to learn and appreciated the fact that the trainers, Millicent and Ericah, could hold the sessions in Kiswahili. Any technical English words used by chance were translated. Since so many of the concepts and subjects discussed in the workshop were new to the participants, it seemed the best way to help facilitate their understanding by holding the workshop in Kiswahili. This made it easy for participants to ask questions all the time and to allow lively group discussions during the workshop.

The amount of topics talked about was very many (see above-mentioned list). The participants were very diligent and motivated, and we were able to complete the amount of material we set out to do. Actually, it was an interesting session and there were no difficulties in delivering the materials home to the participants. We had thought that all the new concepts might overwhelm the participants. This was not the case. In fact, we had a very late lunch, not because the meal was not made ready on time, but because the participants kept on insisting that we continue with the lessons. They did not want any interruptions. Finally, Rev. Wasike went up and announced that he was going to teach the next topic “How to go about the business of eating lunch”, which made everyone laugh and agree that it was time to take a break.

We designed the lessons so that we were not only lecturing, since we thought it could be boring for the participants. Instead, we gave short lectures and asked them to make brief notes on what they were learning, and then we involved them in group discussions and practical exercises and calculations in between. This seemed to work very well.

Since there were so many participants in the course (over 20 persons), it would be better to hold two trainings over two days next time.

• Trainees send their heartfelt greetings to Lia and well wishers who enabled the training and phones.
• Available Youth and Men felt neglected hence requested the trainers to send the word to Lia.
• The women requested for more support to enable business diversification to enable them to be empowered further.
• In the weeks proceeding the workshop, many other women, even some physically not known to Rev. Wasike, are ever calling asking when is the next training is going to be done so that they participate to get knowledge about business.

by Lia

When Rev Wasike, Millicent Aswata, Ericah Kiptoo traveled from Nairobi to Kimilili to give the CBSM women’s co-op their first business training workshop, they were hoping to teach a small group of business women how to set up their Village Phone Salons.

So, you can imagine their surpise when they arrived at the CBSM school at 7 am on the day of the workshop, to meet with over 20 persons. They all wanted to learn best business practices and could not be persuaded to leave. After much discussion, it was agreed that 21 participators could take part int the workshop and the others would be receiving another workshop as soon as the funds can be raised.

The women and men of our workshop worked very hard throughout the long day. Everyone was anxious to learn as much as they could. We are very thankful to Ericah and Millicent for preparing the learning material and for their wonderful instruction.


By Rev. Wasike and Lia
Three weeks ago Rev Wasike, Millicent Aswata, Ericah Kiptoo traveled from Nairobi to Kimilili to give the CBSM women’s co-op their first business training workshop. The workshop took place on May 16th, 2009 at the CBSM School from 8 am to 5 pm.

The purpose of the training was to empower targeted women with knowledge that could help them run the Village Phone Salon businesses profitably and be self-reliant in business environment. Also, the training needed to instruct them about how to keep records properly, so that they could know in the future if they are making profit or loss and what actions needs to be taken in case of either. Women were also trained on how to manage borrowed mirco-finances (loans) and repayments among others.

In order to achieve the above, the business practice training was designed specifically to meet the needs of the local available challenges in business environment.

Training Topics
1.    Introduction
2.    Factors considered in choosing a Business
3.    Basic Business Management Skills
4.    Business Communication Skills
5.    Time Management Skills
6.    Leadership Skills
7.    Marketing and Customer Care
8.    Setting SMART Objectives and Goals for VPS
9.    SWOT Analysis of VPS Business
10.    Business or Product Diversification available within Kimilili area
11.    Training on Phone Operations
12.    Handing and maintenance of the phones

Methods of Training
Instructional presentation of theories
Group discussions
Participatory class
Illustration of practical examples
Group asking specific questions

In the next post, I will mention how the day progressed.