Ruth's Role in Developing Sustainability

As Vision Africa celebrates its tenth anniversary, the focus for 2012 is on developing sustainability at the projects with which we partner. To help facilitate this, a new member of staff joined the team in Nairobi to work closely with the projects to help them achieve their goal of raising 30% of their running costs through Income Generating Activities by the end of 2013.

We asked Ruth to introduce herself and explain a bit about her role and her first few months with Vision Africa.

“My name is Ruth Wamalwa, I work as a Project Administrator with Vision Africa, much of my work being to oversee the Income Generating Activities (IGAs) in all of our projects which are situated in different parts of our country. Having gained experience for three years in the area of managing Income Generating Activities in my former work place, it was my joy when I got an opportunity to serve in the same field in Vision Africa.

After I was offered this position, my first move was to visit these IGAs and get to know how they were progressing. I wanted to know the successes and challenges the staffs were facing in different businesses. Listening to the Field Administrator, I realized there was some degree of dissatisfaction and there was need for somebody to offer a hand especially in overseeing the work. During my first visits I realized the staff had the interest of running the IGAs but needed some advice on record keeping. Despite the fact that the staff had worked hard and searched for opportunities to market the products this was still an area that needed attention.

Another great challenge for staffs was that they didn’t have all the skills to run various IGAs, we therefore quickly thought of organizing a meeting to build their capacity for better performance which is to be held on 8th and 9th of June 2012 in Nairobi Seed of Hope Centre. We are covering topics like, marketing, business development and record keeping among others. Our aim is to equip staffs with knowledge on marketing so that we expand the market scope for our IGAs. We also aim at developing and keeping good records for better follow ups not forgetting skills that are necessary for growing up IGAs

My second goal is to work together with my colleagues to grow up these IGAs to a level where the projects are self-sustainable and can raise about 30% of their budget. We already have some projects supporting 10% of their budgets. This shows that our IGAs have the potential for growth and expansion.

Our IGAs range from livestock keeping to farming to hairdressing and dressmaking. The fact that our own students and staffs are a resource in some IGAs like hairdressing, bakery, mechanics and dressmaking is a reason for good income if other underlying factors are considered. In Clayton’s Mechanics we provide services like car washing, servicing of the vehicles ranging from saloons to lorries. The teacher in charge is an expert and so with our students. Clayton’s is situated in Nairobi Seed of Hope along Ngong Road after the meteorological department.

Kariti Seed of Hope, one of our projects, owns about three acres of land, two of which are not occupied. This is a piece of land with great potential, with proper planning and investing, so our goal is to get not less than 500,000ksh (£3,700) from the farm per month ,however one of our main challenge is investment funds.

Vision Africa being a charity organization with orphaned and vulnerable children on board many of our projects are in need of infrastructure. This being one of our greatest challenges we look forward to growing our IGAs to about 70% from what it is now. This will enable us put up enough facilities necessary for day to day running of the centres. With the good will of the staff and available opportunities we can make it to another level by the end of 2012.”

Our IGAs require investments from as little as 8,000ksh (£60, $90) to help them get off the ground or on to the next level. If you are based in Kenya you can also get involved by offering your skills to train project staff or mentor them as they try to build up their small businesses to sustain their projects. If you would like more information, please contact us.


By Kirsty

Kirsty is our Fundraising and Communications Officer and she joined Vision Africa as Fundraiser in 2008 after volunteering with the organisation for over one year. She is based full time in Kenya. Click here for full bio