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Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 26 Kakamega June 3, 2011

Hello

Today I did some more research into NGO’s and some sample Constitutions.  I also spent some time researching MFI’s or Micro Finance Institutions.  Here in Kenya there are more NGO’s then I care to count.  The NGO’s cover everything from HIV/AIDS to mosquito nets.  If there is a need there is an NGO to address it.  Some NGO’s are very large in scope like World Vision and Compassion International.  However the vast majority of them are pretty local and specific in their scope.  I also spent some time looking at CBO’s or Community Base Organizations to learn more about them and how they are governed.

To give you a better understanding of what we are trying to do in improving the lives of those here we need to look at what has been happening here for many years.  Mission teams and missionaries come and go all the time.  Pastors come and fill the people with their spiritual needs and over the years have been very successful at bringing the good news of our Savior.  Mission teams come in and do very wonderful things like build churches, schools, clinics, orphanages, etc.  Our intentions are well meaning but there is one serious side effect to what we do.  I have heard both Bishop Hezron and Pastor Ososo say the same thing over and over during the I do not know how many speeches, meetings, and sermons I have attended.  The missionary come do their thing and then they leave.  They say once the missionary leaves our funds dry up, we are still poor and our people continue to be ignorant.  The first time I heard that said I thought to myself I am glad I did not say that.  They will then reach out to the missionaries for support and then comes the reply that they will pray about it.  When someone tells you that they are going to pray about it well that pretty much means forget it.  But as I thought about what I heard the more I realized that ignorance is a good thing.  Admitting your ignorance is the first step to learning something.  These people want to learn how to fish and it can’t be any simpler then that.  We will continue to give and these people will continue to take but once we stop giving they are still poor and they are still ignorant.  Here I said it.

When I speak to the people in small groups or large groups the most excitement comes from when I speak of self empowerment.  The members of these churches and communities want to build their own churches, their own schools, their own orphanages, their own clinics, and they want to pay their pastors.  But they can’t because they do not know how to fish.  I tell them that not only does God want to address their spiritual needs but also their physical needs.  That is what I believe that God wants me to do.  Granted I might be well out of my league but by the grace of God I am going to try and fulfill his call.  Along with my two brothers Jim and Steve as well as many of you that want to participate I believe we can really make a difference in the lives of many here in East Africa.  I am here for this 10 weeks to lay some foundations and try to create the “how are we going to accomplish this” mission.  I am clueless and ignorant of things Kenyan but I am willing to learn and believe me I am learning and fast.

The way we plan to accomplish this is through ownership just like we do in the states.  We supply the capital to fund a project.  The project becomes successful and the project pays back the capital with nominal interest.  The interest will be needed to support the NGO and any profits left over will be returned to the community.  The money that comes back is then reinvested back into another project and the money keeps working over and over.  We can work for the common good of a church, a group, or individuals.  If it is a church project then the church can use the income to fund its own projects and maybe pay its staff.  If it's a group as with the widows it can help sustain themselves, provide income to support their families and eventually allow them to tithe to the church.  On an individual basis like Mathew his business grows he hires more people he has more money in his pocket and he too as well as his employees remembers the church.  I believe once others see these people become successful then they will want to join the party.  Is this not a good way to bring people to Jesus?  Once they have then they can give.

I have told them that I personally do not have the money fund all their projects.  If I had it I would but I don’t so don’t ask.  I tell them that I believe that Americans given the chance will let us use their money to help teach them how to fish and be good fishermen while they do it.  This means that we are not just going to supply capital but whatever resource is needed to make them successful.  We believe if our success rate is over 95% money will flow and we can fund even more projects.  I also tell them that these will be their projects not mine and failure is not an option or you will be poor again.

Right now we have a problem in that we can’t legally provide loans to anyone without an NGO or MFI that is registered through the government.  I really do not want to spend any time in a Kenyan prison.  However we did not want to wait for an NGO to be established to get our feet wet.  It was decided that we would pick a few viable projects or projects that have already been in existence and successful to supply some capital to see how it will work.  I have been showing you some of these projects that I believe are viable.  The money that we are using at this time is being donated to both the UMC in Nairobi or Freedom Ministries in Kakamega.  They will then distribute the funds to the project and account for the return of the funds into their own accounts and report back to us on the progress. 

Once we set up our own NGO or partner with another NGO this will all change into the NGO approving and accounting of all projects.  I have received emails from some of you that want to participate.  At this point if you want to participate it has to be as a donation.  It will be put to good use.  In the future our goal will be for you to pick your project or projects from hopefully a really long list that you will find on the internet.  You will let us use your money and then either return it to you after a certain period of time or you can pick another project to help with.  These particular details have not been finalized and are subject to change based on any applicable laws or circumstances we have not foreseen.  If you would like to contribute now here is the address.

Olathe Wesleyan Church
Pastor Jim Wood
15320 South Ridgeview Road
Olathe, KS 66062

Attn:  Dave Wood Kenya Trip

Here is their website:       http://olathewesleyan.org/

Thank you and God bless

Dave         

2 comments:

  1. Dave, if there are many NGO's already providing capital in East Africa, what do you see the problem being with the current system? Is it limited scope of existing organizations, lack of sustainable capital to keep the money flowing, stringent policies making it hard to qualify for project funding, or some other limiting factor? It is quite obvious to anyone that has been reading your blogs that there is a true spirit in the East African people to become a self sustaining, prosperous people. Therefore, I must assume that if the capital markets were in place, the entrepreneurial spirit of the people would take over.
    By the way, great job on your posts, I have enjoyed every last one and recommend that anyone new to this blog, go back and read them. Great information, Thanks.

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  2. Sorry John if I led you to believe that there are many NGO's providing capital. There are many NGO's but not all of them are providing capital. In fact only Equity bank and Kenya Womens Trust Fund are the only two I hear or read about here in Kenya providing micro finance opportunities. I am sure that there are others but during my research I see that many of these NGO's that are registered have micro finance as one of their many objectives but do they actually provide loans? This is done so they do not have to ammend their constitutions later if they actually do get into micro finance operations. Equity Bank is by far the largest micro finance provider in the country. I plan to research into the possibly of partnering with Equity Bank or KWTF to provide a means to get our loans out. My understanding is that up to 20% of the Kenyan work force depends on micro-financing to help fund them. I need to spend some more time on this to get some more answers. I do know that availability of capital to the masses is difficult for reasons such as distances to a bank or not having a relationship with a bank because what is taken in is quickly spent to survive. No need for a bank. The vast majority of micro finance NGO's that I saw in the data bases are in Nairobi or Mombasa. Only a few were in the Western Provinces and none in Northern Kenya. Many of these NGO's operate regionally and it would be difficult to send someone to Nairobi or Mombasa to get a loan. As I said in one of my blogs there are millions of Kenyans that have not ventured a few miles from their home. The middle and upper classes in Kenya have no problems getting capital and the banks do well with them. I am sure that there are many other factors why people cannot get loans. As I dig deeper into this problem I will try and convey it in one of my blogs. You bring up some great points and they deserve further research. Thanks

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