Water is Life Kenya, a Delaware-based nonprofit, announced its annual Livestock-as-a-Business microloan recipients.
The training and loan program was born during the devastating drought of 2009 where ranchers suffered livestock losses of up to 85 percent. Participants in the program are taught the skills needed to increase drought resilience, improve incomes, sustain their water supply and have a better life. Managing livestock herds is the main source of income and food for the Maasai communities in southern Kenya.
The program includes exposure to important resources including Government of Kenya Ministry of Livestock extension officers and the opportunity to interact, develop friendships and share best practices with neighboring farmers.
The microloan component of the program has helped hundreds of families learn financial literacy and responsibility. In the eight years that the program has been in existence, more than 99 percent of the loans have been repaid with interest. Repaid loans are used to fund the next year’s programs.
Combining training with loans provides an immediate opportunity for recipients to apply the livestock buying and selling skills, disease prevention, budgeting, record keeping, grass conservation, and management skills they learn in the program to their own herds.
Joyce Tannian, founder of Water is Life Kenya, noted that the organization’s year-round presence on the ground and strong bonds of trust with the communities served differentiates the nonprofit from other organizations working in the region and assures program continuity and quality.
The nonprofit Water is Life Kenya helps bring water and livestock training to the communities living on the northern fringes of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. In the last 12 years, the organization has completed 18 major water projects including deep and shallow wells, rainwater harvesting at schools and pipeline connections that provide water to 50,000 people on a daily basis.
In addition to clean water projects, the organization runs a Livestock-as-a-Business program which is focused program to train willing, committed and interested people in skills to improve the way they keep their livestock. These individuals come together and form groups. Group members combine resources and support each other and receive a group loan so the profit and risk is shared by members.
It also sponsors a Fair Trade Federation-listed handicrafts division that provides much needed income for the families in the region.
For more information or to donate, go to www.waterislifekenya.org.