Sunday, February 5, 2012

Interview with Tom Odumo, Chair of Kibera Agenda

In last week’s blog, we gave an insight into the meeting of the Kibera Agenda 4, a local microfinance group based in Kibera, and as promised we bring the chairman’s interview into their activities. Thomas Bwire undertook the interview with Mr. Tom Odumo.

Kindly start by telling us your name.
My name is Tom Odumo, and I am the current chair person of the Kibera Agenda 4 group.

How did the birth of this group come about?
A friend from abroad had come to visit Kibera during the post election of 2007-2008. In one of our meetings with him, the idea came about on how we could create source of income, considering that most of the people had lost hope after their hard earned sweat had gone into drain when some rowdy youths stole and burnt our business during the 2007 election skirmish.
And from that time how many members are on board and how do you recruit new members?
We work on trust, like you have a friend and you tell him about what Kibera Agenda 4 is all about, and he or she gets to share the same information with other people, that’s how we have managed to recruit present members. Most of the members are women and also we have men too participating. The group currently has 90 members and they all reside in Kibera. Our meetings are held twice a week, i.e. on Wednesday 10.00am and Thursday 2.00pm.
So what happens during the weekly meeting?
When we meet, members present bring forward their weekly savings, we also give loans to our members. But we start with a first loan of ksh.2.000 then we move to ksh.5.000 and then next level, we give ksh.10.000. We also just introduced the fourth loan which amounts to ksh.15.000 but beyond that we cannot manage as a microfinance group since it’s on a higher side. While also giving loans, we encourage openness and trust among us members, though at times we encounter a few defaulters, which is normal.
Just to ask, how are members also empowered?
Oh yes, we do have Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA) University and CIC insurance whom have trained our members on financial matters and how to manage their businesses. Like last year they gave us a talk during the month of June. That’s one way to help create proper awareness for our people.
Do you have any other message?
I request that people of good will can join hands with us, by giving loans to us so as we can achieve a better today and not tomorrow.

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