written by Lia Hadley

I'd like to post a profile of one of the women in CBSM whose hard work and active participation has done much to build a strong community over the last years. Janerose Kuya epitimises how the empowerment of women does not stay with the one, but its goodness spreads to many.

Janerose Kuya is the business leader in one of our Village Phone Salons (VPS) situated in Baraki Area at the Kuywa Junction about 20 kilometres away from Kimilili, Kenya. She and her husband are the main caretakers of their nine children and four grandchildren. They have four acres of land; half of which they plant with maize and beans for livestock fodder and to sell in the market five kilometers away. The other two acres they use as a homestead and kitchen garden. They also keep cows, sheep, and a few goats.

Janerose started in June 2009 the self-help women’s co-op to improve women’s incomes. They opened up their VPS with the help of a private micro-loan (150 USD). In the first six months, they experienced many challenges and successes as local Village Phone Operators (VPOs). The initial challenges resulted from the nation-wide drought, since people
did not use phone services when they needed to use what money they had to pay for food. It was also difficult for the VPS to establish regular customers due to strong competition.

Yet there have also been many successes. Janerose’s co-op was able to pay off their micro-loan early. They received enough income from the VPS that all of the co-op members’ families were given sufficient supplies of milk during the famine months. Since the harvest late last August, there has been a steady increase in the number of regular
customers and, as a result, an increase in income for the co-op members.

Janerose has become a role model of a successful businesswoman within the community. She is now a group leader in a women’s gardening co-op. She has not only discovered new friends through this venture, but she has also achieved a new standing within the
circle of community elders.

If you want to read more about Janerose and her women's co-op please download this pdf.
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