Jacinta Wanjira Njogu, 67, has seen her life change since she joined her group (Urumwe wa rianjeru) in 2014. She hails from Mumbuini village. The village hosts the 28,000-acre land South Ngariama Settlement Scheme in Kirinyaga where 3,000 squatters settle. The village has been cut out from development. Farming is to the minimal mainly because of the dry and bare land. Lack of water and poor infrastructure is evident. “A while ago when you fell sick, the only means of transportation was bicycles and wheelbarrows. It was tough for pregnant women,” she recalls. Before HiH EA, she engaged in subsistence farming by growing maize and beans. She had no source of income. Having no formal education and with her jobless husband, she says that the cycle of poverty never left their home.
“Even for my children, I was not able to pay for their secondary school education. They dropped out,” she says.
After HiH EA, she says that her best training is on savings and resource mobilization. “The teacher taught us the importance of saving the little that one has and she gave me a piggy bank as my home savings ‘bank’. She also taught us on commercializing our farming activities.”
After the harvest season in 2014, she sold her maize and beans at a cost of Ksh 100 per kilo. She saved a total of Ksh 30,000 in her piggy bank. She bought three goats and the rest she paid for her grandson’s secondary education.
She has also registered for the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) a public medical insurance cover for Kenyan citizens and their declared dependants (spouse and children). This is after her husband fell ill and did not have enough money to cater for his hospital bill. “The Hand in Hand trainer mentioned to me about registering for the NHIF, where I make yearly contributions of Ksh 1,920,” She says
“I have never being in a classroom. Hand in Hand Eastern Africa is my first school,” she says.
She plans to continue saving for the future to buy a piece of land and a cow.