Recovering from Effects of 2007 Post Election Violence
After losing what they considered their only source of livelihood during the 2007/2008 post-election violence that displaced hundreds of thousands in Kenya, a group of youthful men in Kitale, one of the affected regions, started what would become their lifeline out of poverty. Lumino Youth Group was established to build cohesion amongst communities affected by the post-election violence and encourage peaceful coexistence especially among the youth.
The group of ten all worked in ‘’Jua Kali’’ or makeshift sheds as mechanics, but their sources of livelihood and equipment were burnt down during the chaos that ensued after the 2007 elections. Philip Wanyonyi ,26, narrates how he almost lost his life trying to protect his sole source of income from being destroyed. ‘’These are scars I got when I was cut by machetes and left for dead’’, described Phillip who is one of the founding members of the group.
UNDP, through the livelihoods recovery project, provided the group with tools of trade that include a welding machine, grinder and a drilling machine to enable them get back on their feet and be economically empowered.
With intensive entrepreneurship trainings to equip the youth with necessary business skills, the group has been able to turn around their fortune and build a profit making enterprise within a short period of time.
The chairman of Lumino Youth Group - Julius Omenda 29, explains that they have so much work that they had to hire an extra hand to manage the equipment in the yard. ‘’We managed to make just over Khs 50,000 in three months since we were given the machines’’, says Julius.
The group is now encouraging individual members to venture into personal investment activities by engaging in table banking. This self-help financing model requires members to contribute 3 percent of their weekly earnings into a consolidated account that is used to facilitate low interest loans to members and requires no collateral.
Currently all the member are self-sufficient and economically stable and have been able to successfully establish personal investments through the loan facility offered by the group. The group also does youth mentorship and training to help and also transfer skills as well as continue with efforts of building peaceful coexistence amongst different communities.
As part of their future aspiration, Lumino Youth Group are looking at diversify into the real estate business by building housing units from the savings they have accrued.