From welfare to entrepreneurs Kenyan lecturer wins writers' competition
Nairobi - Regina Kagera, a lecturer at Kenyatta University in
Nairobi, has won the second Intermediate Technology Small Enterprise Development
Journal writers' competition.
Her article "From Welfare to Small-scale business in Kenya"
looked at how traditional women's groups in Kenya enable women to move from
survival-based activities, such as casual labour, to fullyfledged group
enterprises, involving innovation, capital accumulation and risk-taking.
Small profits from the beginning of the group's activities were
re-invested in traditional farming activities, such as goat-rearing, and when
they were successful, they were sometimes followed by diversification into new
areas identified by the group as having potential, such as brick making.
One group started with casual farm labour, and having gained
confidence and savings, identified a local demand for bricks and building
blocks, brought in previously from outside the area. The women discovered how to
produce the bricks and blocks, and became the sole supplier in the area.
Another group started with church work and casual labour, before
branching out by running an ox and plough contracting service. What Kagera
demonstrates through these examples is the ability of such groups to perform the
entrepreneurial functions of innovation, production, marketing, capital
formation and reinvestment.