Meet Derrick Wanjala. He's one of 10 finalists for the 2016 Waislitz Global Citizen Award, which gives a total of $100,000 to three individuals who excel in their work to end extreme poverty. And he needs you to vote to make him one of the three winners! After Global Citizens around the world pick their three favorites, an expert panel of judges will rank them in first, second, and third place. Derrick could win up to $50,000 with your help! Vote here.
Name of Applicant: Derrick Wanjala
Organization: Huduma Jamii
Title / Position: CEO
Issue Area(s): Girls & Women | Education | Finance & Innovation | Food & Hunger
Region of Work: Africa –– Bungoma County, Kenya
About Huduma Jamii
Huduma Jamii is a social initiative that empowers women and youth through agricultural businesses so they can create the lives they desire for their families, their communities, and their country.
We aim to transform women and youth from job seekers into job creators and make them more relevant to the micro- and small-business sector, a promising engine for economic growth. Our social impact is results-oriented, concerned purely with the social and economic development of women and youth. Huduma Jamii has led to the creation of opportunities along the poultry value chain. In operation for a period of 10 months, the initiative has impacted over 700 households in Bungoma County, Kenya.
Why Derrick Should Win This Award
My name is Derrick Wanjala, and I was born on December 22, 1993 in Kenya. Growing up was a struggle for me. During my primary school, I walked 10 kilometers barefoot to and from school on a daily basis. I struggled to get education. I had to learn through the kindness of strangers, and read any newspapers and books I could lay my hands on. There are so many memories of pain and struggle, but they made me a survivor.
I worked hard and was admitted to Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, which would lead to a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, but that was short lived. My parents couldn’t manage to pay for my fees. I was in and out of school looking for ways to fend for myself until I finally had to drop out. I felt so much pain because I knew my dreams of getting a formal education had been completely shattered.
One day, as my sister and I were helping my parents to feed chickens, I imagined if everyone in my community had chickens like my mom. I wondered: What if I gave two chickens to every woman and child in my community? At the end of five months, they would return three chicks for the sustainability of the project. I went to the nearby market and shared my idea with some women. They were so happy to hear about it, and they were willing to join the initiative. I managed to save money, and my sister and I registered the social initiative by the name Huduma Jamii. We bought 20 chickens to start.
It is through Huduma Jamii that I can see the change in my community. Now that women and youth are engaged in self-employment ventures to better their lives, people have started businesses, girls attend school, and crime rates have drop. Huduma Jamii is a grassroots social enterprise whose mission is to completely eradicate poverty.
A $2 fee guarantees members of Huduma Jamii two fully grown chicken ready to lay eggs, valued at $10. After joining and before they are issued their chickens, members are organized in groups and trained on poultry management, agribusiness, entrepreneurship, and financial knowledge. They are expected to raise the chicken as per the training. After five months, they return three chicks to the organization to sustain the project.
Members are encouraged to save the money they make from the sale of eggs and other poultry products. After three months, they are entitled to a loan toward the purchase of a heifer, goat, sheep, or the expansion of their poultry project. The members continue to contribute to the repayment of their loan, which has an interest rate of 10 percent. Their animals are marked and monitored, and continue to be jointly owned by Huduma Jamii and the member until the loan is repaid.
We go further by connecting farmers with markets for their eggs and chickens. When the farmers’ animals and products are ready, Huduma Jami guarantees a market to ensure that the farmers are able to benefit from the project.
With a steady flow of income, the person who initially had nothing is now able to create the life they desire for themselves. So far, the initiative has directly empowered 900 youth and women who now able to put food on the table and send their children to school. The initiative has also created job opportunities for two staff members and 11 regional representatives who monitor the progress of members in the regions they represent.
Our aim is to fully eradicate extreme poverty from the grassroots level, and an overwhelming 97 percent of the beneficiaries have established their own businesses. The economic empowerment, financial knowledge, and entrepreneurship skills instilled in our members has gone a long way toward not only benefiting members, but benefiting the community at large. The poverty level in my community has been reduced by 40 percent. By empowering women economically, I believe they will have a chance to own property and earn a significant amount of money through it. More bargaining power at home will in turn help reduce their vulnerability to domestic violence and HIV infection.
Facebook: Hudma Jamii