Domestic violence survivors dream to become cereals wholesalers in Kisumu.

Women in Nyalenda Kisumu City bore the brunt of domestic violence owing to their socio-economic dependence on their spouses. This changed after they started running their own businesses and contributing to their household needs.

In 2021, 14 women who had suffered violence encountered Pambazuko La Wanawake Magharibi- ActionAid International Kenya’s implementing partner for the Kisumu County Access to Justice and Security programme. They got hope to redeem themselves from violent experiences. The women survivors of violence formed the Peace, Love and Hard self-help group.

Several of them had suffered major trauma from gender-based violence, mainly from their partners. Through the Access to Justice and Security programme, they underwent intensive individual and group counseling and therapy sessions to heal and stabilize their lives. After much introspection by each of the women, they uncovered that the recurring influence for the violence meted on them by their spouses was that they depended on the men financially. After the realization, they inquired from the programme staff on ways they could break the dependence.

Consequently, the programme trained the survivors on how to start and run a business. This was pivotal to helping the survivors become economically independent and break free from violent relationships pegged on financial support. After the entrepreneurship and financial management training, the women were issued with seed capital to launch their businesses.

Jecinter, the group’s chairlady, said: “We have learnt a lot concerning gender-based violence and child protection. Moreover, economic empowerment has allowed us to run our small businesses more effectively, earn a living and break free from abusive relationships. Through the Access to Justice and Security project, we can sensitize other women who may be undergoing violence in their lives. We hope the project keeps running so that more women and children exposed to violence are reached,”

Marion, a group member, noted that they were taught how to conduct a market survey to find out the need or gap, then write a business plan, bookkeeping and basic mathematics for business.

“After the training, we did market research as group members agreed to set up a cereals/grains business. Cereals form part of everyday foodstuffs for many households. They don’t get spoilt easily if dried properly and are easy to sell since they are considered basic foodstuff.

“They put their business at Kibuye Market, the main market serving Kisumu City. Both household consumers and small-scale retailers in the city and its environs shop here. All other traders from Kisumu and its environs buy their foodstuffs from Kibuye Market. Human traffic is high at Kibuye Market, meaning the circulation of money is great,” said Marion.

The group began their business with two types of beans and rice each, groundnuts, green grams, millet, and maize. After ploughing back profits into the business, they have made strides by adding amaranth, cowpeas, finger millet, and a second variety of groundnuts and beans.

Mary, the treasurer of the Peace Love and Hard Work self-help group, expressed gratitude to the programme funders and staff for rescuing them.

“We are very thankful that you gave us a chance at a better life devoid of violence. And for the seed capital to start their business, we say thank you. We did not have any platform to secure capital from, to begin the business,” recorded Mary.

She added: “Had we been given the seed capital without the training first; we would have lost all the money; the training was crucial. We aspire to grow and become wholesalers of cereals in Kisumu.”

The group’s dedicated customer base includes neighbours, fellow church members, and food kiosks around the market and the public.


The group members sell their wares in Kibuye Market in Kisumu. (Photo Credit: Pambazuko La Wanawake Magharibi).

Authors: Judy Oduor, Project Coordinator, Access to Justice and Security Project. Mary Consolata Makokha Communications Officer ActionAid Kenya.

Edited by Ezra Kiriago, Communications Coordinator, ActionAid Kenya.

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