By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Rita Andeyo Enane saw a problem and wanted to be part of the solution! While she had grown up in Western Kenya, she moved to Nairobi as a teenager but still returned to her hometown with her two sons over holidays. She explains, “It always pained me to see how poor folks at home were, yet they had big farms. I desired so much to try and help change their lives.”
Therefore, once her sons finished primary school, she set about to help! She began by resigning from her job and moving back home to create a business in the farming sector. To start, she leased out farms and planted vegetables, cereals, and sugarcane. Then, she would sell what she grew to a middleman.
But, she didn’t stop there. She also reared indigenous chickens and would sell them to hotels in towns nearby. Rita shares a fun memory that, ‘They actually came to my village to buy the chicken and vegetables in their hotel cars and this surprised folks at home. Slowly I encouraged them to keep chicken and plant vegetables for cash and not only subsistence. My dream has always been to create employment and empower the rural woman.”
Now, Rita is currently living out her dream of creating jobs as she has 1 permanent employee and 4 part-time workers. She explains, “The journey has been tough, not to mention fighting tradition and illiteracy, but the struggle continues. Financing from banks has been depressing and I believe Zidisha community will help me continue to put smiles on my village folk faces and myself.”
Currently in her business, Rita is farming sugarcane, beans, and vegetables. In addition, the chickens that she raises are used for both meat and eggs. She shares that, “Chicken is a delicacy in western Kenya and is the main meal cooked for an important guest. Eggs are a cheap source of food.”
Rita continues to find success with chicken as it’s a faster source of income compared to sugarcane, beans, and vegetables, which are seasonal. Eventually, she hopes to purchase her own incubator!
Even though Rita is relatively new to the Zidisha community, she is already making big strides! In November and December, she was able to raise 3 Zidisha funded loans ranging from $1 to $41. Her first loan of $1 and her second loan of $19 were both used to purchase nipple drinkers for her chickens. This would help to reduce water contamination and prevent diseases. She also explains that refilling water drinkers can be hectic.
A month later, in December 2018, she raised her third loan, this time for $41. This loan allowed her to buy PVC pipes and a tank to create her new water system. Rita describes the importance of this as she shares, “With a good water system in place, my profits will increase because I will cut down on money spent on treating chicken. The coop remains clean, dry and hygienic hence minimum spread of diseases.”
On December 6, Rita shared this inspiring update on her discussion page, “You have really given me hope in my business. It’s good to know there are great people standing with me. From my profits I had ordered some fifty 1 day old chicks which came in on the 1st. They are now 6 days old and doing great. The festive season has kind of began here and kukus (chickens) are in high demand. Thanks so much Paul and the entire Zidisha community for your great support.”
Through her partnership with Zidisha lenders, Rita has been able to alleviate so many of her previous concerns about the spread of diseases and clean conditions. With the extra hours that she has gained, rather than cleaning and changing water, she is now able to devote more time marketing her business and improving her farm.
Would you like to make a difference in the life of a female entrepreneur like Rita? Make sure to check out our Browse Projects page to read about other inspiring business owners.