Most women in low-income communities are still excluded from many projects aimed to bring about economic, social and political change. In 2017, the World Economic Forum published that the global gender gap will take about 200 years to close at the current rate of progress. Fostering gender equality, not only benefits women but the community and the world at large. Women make up 54% of the urban population globally, usually have primary responsibility for child rearing (especially in the global south), and make up 35% of the workforce in sub-Saharan Africa. More resources need to be invested in women to bring about sustainable change.
Somo, has been partnering with female led enterprises being built out of low-income communities since 2016. We have developed specific programs focuses on the women we work with. We hold discussion seminars to discuss the issues they are facing and confidence trainings.
Apart from initiating programs, we have dedicated ourselves to partnering with businesses that give women a conducive environment to be in charge of their lives. We are partnering with women entrepreneurs whose businesses enable women to search for and secure employment. Two examples are WeeCare and El-Elyon daycare, a daycare in Kibera and Githurai respectively. $15 a month or $0.5 a day).
Leo, founder of El-Elyon seeing the need for affordable educational toys, created stuffed letters and animals to help children learn. Caro founded WeeCare to teach early childhood education and educate young mothers on the importance speaking and reading to their kids early. Carol works with multiple women’s groups to help them implement educational activities with their kids into their hectic schedules.
Another example is Afriknit dolls, a business that give the African Women an opportunity to give their children an identity from childhood through african themed affordable dolls. Susan, a trained tailor and fabric technician, and her partner, Meshack, created Afriknit Dolls to address the lack of African-inspired dolls available in Nairobi. By using fabric waste from local tailors, they are able to create a sustainable and affordable product. With the business they train and employ vulnerable youth in the production of their dolls.
We partner with entrepreneurs that give women a safer way for women in Kibera to access healthy foods such as Twalalishe farm in Kibera. Twalalishe not only provides food but facilitates training on the same). With all of our businesses we help them create a platform that can successfully hire female employees. Both Mwangaza Candles and Bounty Nut, candle and peanut butter businesses in Mathare focus on providing single mothers in Mathare with employment.