Fashion Business Academy
A unique training and mentoring programme for 10 young fisher women to start an enterprise in tailoring and fashion. The training in soft and technical skills takes three months. After the successful completion, Wa-Wa Kenya sets up businesses together with the trainees, who will receive a start-up capital and intensive mentoring, after which they will be able to stand on their own feet.
This way Wa-Wa Kenya ensures sustainability and has supported 365 young women in successful soap-making, furniture making and fish-farming businesses. Girls and women can choose a subject that they like, the training areas are collectively identified by the groups depending on the needs and interests, and they are involved in the evaluation of the project.
It is a solution much needed, that is helping women and teen girls living below the poverty line towards opportunities to make a living in a healthy and dignified way. In the fisher folks’ communities living around Lake Victoria Poverty there are limited job opportunities. Poverty forces many women to engage in transactional sex for fish, to secure a share of the daily catch. The region has a HIV prevalence in the area is 26% (around 5 times higher than the national prevalence). This has resulted too many deaths form AIDs-related diseases, orphaned children and child headed families.
After the training of 3 months, 10 women will start their own business. After another 5 months of mentoring, they will be able to make a sustainable living without putting themselves at risk. The ten women are all young mothers who dropped out from school due to stigma and have the responsibility of taking care of their child or children with no income.
In addition 50 family members of the 10 participants have more income, and thus there will be budget for things like healthy food, health care and school fees.
Moreover, 350 members of the women saving groups that all participants join, benefit from the 2% interest the new entrepreneurs return from their start-up loan. The interest serves as a source for new loans to the entire group.
Longer-term, we see from experience that around 20 women from the saving groups will get employment through through the new entrepreneurs or start their own business.
Ultimately, having less poverty and more jobs contribute to end transactional sex and thus to reduce HIV incidences.
Altogether, Wa-Wa expects to indirectly benefit 225 children, relatives and employees through the five trainees.
The project costs Ksh 600,000 (or €4,889) or training 10 young women to start their own business. The donations will be used for:
- A 3-months training on fashion and design.
- Start-up capital to establish their own tailoring business.
- Intensive mentoring for 5 months and follow-up mentoring until a trainee can stand on their own.
- For project sustainability strategy, trainees will be encouraged to join a table banking scheme. Table banking is a platform where women can access loans in the form of a start-up kit with materials, or a small loan in money for their businesses. The interest accrued will be used for the expansion and growth of their group and businesses.
Every additional €465 will allow Wa-Wa Kenya to train another young woman. They can train up to 10 women a month (120 per year) in fashion business.
WA-WA trained 10 young fisher women to start an enterprise in tailoring and fashion. The training in soft and technical skills took six months. The training was held 3 days per week and an extra 2 women were trained. The office of the state department of Gender has pledged a partnership with us by providing more tailoring materials once the women have graduated and we’ve registered the group in 6 months.
After the training WA-WA adapted the programme from supporting the project participants to start their own business towards establishing a Women’s Fashion Hub, a centre of excellence that combines training in fashion design and a women tailoring shop. The central shop will provide an opportunity with exposure to a tailoring environment, practical mentorship and exposure to market forces.
The alteration of the project was as a result of a midterm project evaluation, which revealed that the planned seed capital would not be sufficient to establish a tailoring shop for every individual trainee. Further, the women were reluctant taking individual business risk siting marital instability and difficulty finding individual market for their products. WA –WA resolved to establish a central shop for all to address these concerns.
It is a solution much needed, that is helping women and teen girls living below the poverty line towards opportunities to make a living in a healthy and dignified way. In the fisher folks’ communities living around Lake Victoria there are limited job opportunities. Poverty forces many women to engage in transactional sex for fish, to secure a share of the daily catch. The region has a HIV prevalence in the area is 26% (around 5 times higher than the national prevalence). This has resulted too many deaths form AIDs-related diseases, orphaned children and child headed families.
10 women completed the training in tailoring and fashion design and are now operating from the Women’s Fashion Hub.
The ultimate goal is that the women become financially independent. Short-term results we can already see are:
- Caroline Ouma, WA-WA’s trainer and coordinator of the Women’s Fashion Hub, already secured three contracts for making school uniforms, which brings in Ksh 2,000 per woman per month (€17).
- With the income, project participants started to improve their house and pay school fees of siblings (Sharron) or do weekly savings to start their own shop (Maurine and Jackline), or were able to get a job in tailoring (Joan). The rest operate from the WA-WA shop.
In addition, already two project participants who were in abusive marriages, now had the opportunity and the courage to walk out of the abusive relations.
Although family members already benefit from the increased income, longer-term it is expected that 50 family members will benefit sustainably from budget for things like healthy food, health care and school fees.
This way Wa-Wa’s approach ensures sustainability. The NGO has already supported 365 young women in successful soap-making, furniture making and fish-farming businesses.
Expected longer-term results will be reported in February 2023. It is expected that around 20 women from the saving groups will get employment through the new entrepreneurs or start their own business. Thanks to having the Hub WA-WA’s interventions became more sustainable:
- The Hub relives the rent burden for hiring training venues for future projects. Funds will now go directly to the trainees instead.
- The contracts that the Fashion Hub already gained, already brings in a small income of Ksh 5,000 per month (€44, 50) to be able to buy more equipment and materials.
Moreover, with the generated income from the Hub, 12 board members from the women groups will open a bank account. In 6 months they will take up a loan to benefit 350 members of the women savings group at 2% interest.
Altogether WA-WA’s interventions will reduces the poverty levels in the communities they work. Ultimately, having less poverty and more jobs contribute to end transactional sex and thus to reduce HIV incidences.
The project cost Ksh 600,000 (or €4,889) to train 10 young women on entrepreneurship, fashion and design. The donations also helped in establishing and equipping the fashion and design shop with equipment and materials needed to kick start the trade.
An additional Ksh 230,000 (€ 1,863.14) came from WA-WA and revenue collected from the shop. This was expensed in additional embroidery and sewing machines, marketing and advertisement and trainer costs.
Wa-Wa desires to make fashion and design a self-sustaining project beyond the grant agreement. With this in mind, Wa-Wa then resolves to establish women tailoring shop that would provide an opportunity for direct beneficiaries with exposure to a tailoring environment and Practical Mentorship while exposed to market forces.
The shop will be managed by a board of 12 Memberships Drawn from 12 women groups afflicted to Wa-Wa. With this arrangement, the shop will be registered with local authority, and it is expected to; generate revenue for its operation, employ Adolescent Young mothers and lastly creates a revolving fund that will provide business loans to Indirect Beneficiaries with 5% interest. Plans are underway to open a loaning account by end of August 2022, develop a group loaning policy and the first disbursement will start on December 1st 2022.Video of the project in progress