Asembo Bay Women for Development

Asembo Bay Women for Development was founded in January 2006 by a group of women in a rural village in Kenya. Determined to stop the devastation of HIV on their families and communities, this group of women decided that they needed to organize themselves and learn the skills to change their community.

Originally hoping to develop accessible health care services, the women quickly realized that the risk of contracting HIV and the ability to live, once infected, were directly tied to education, employment and food security.

Since their inception, the scope of development activities has grown from very modest beginnings to include promotion of safe motherhood, elimination of child labour and promotion of women's rights. The women are volunteers and receive no remuneration which is actually quite unusual in Kenya. The women all pay monthly dues which are used to support costs of orphan care.

The members of Asembo Bay Women for Development include six Kenyan and two Canadian women. The group is highly respected for its accomplishments in the community and are frequently asked to represent the community in planning and development initiatives. Funding received for group activities is used to pay for training and development courses, transportation to meetings and seminars and, cost of the internet connection.

The Care of Orphans

The Care of Orphans

The problem of caring for orphans is ubiquitous in Kenya where the orphan rate is 19%. Our group does not consider orphanages an acceptable way for a community to care for its orphaned children. We believe strongly that children should be raised as part of a family and part of a community who cares for them.

Our group supports 211 orphans.

Our first goal is to make the children feel that they are important and loved. We hold a feeding day once a month. We would like to feed them more often but lack the funds necessary. We review the report cards and school attendance of each child and visit them in their homes with their guardians.

In the beginning our goal was to improve food security and school attendance. In 2006, on average our orphans only attended school three days of the week because of the need to work for food. In 2011, on average, our orphans attend school five days a week.

Funds provided for orphans care pay for the food on feeding days, school supplies, extra food for HIV positive children, transportation costs to take HIV positive children for medical care and books for the primary school.

The Care of Widows

The Care of Widows

Asembo Bay Women for Development includes 60 widows who are divided into economic groups of 10.

Each group operates its own economic activities like small scale farming and, meets weekly. Each group operates a "savings and loan" program for its members with all members contributing a small amount weekly to the "pot". The "Pot" is used to make short term loans to members who need funds for an emergency or to expand their business opportunities.

The Widows Group also operates a "social welfare" program for its members with monthly contributions of members being used to assist widows with funeral costs of close family members.

Funding received for the widows is used to pay for transportation to medical care for HIV positive members, to provide start up funds for new ventures and to provide basic foodstuff during times of extreme hunger.

Our Danis (Grandmothers)

Our Danis (Grandmothers)

Like many communities in Kenya, young adults are the ones most affected by HIV. The death of mothers and fathers has left the grandparents with the burden of caring for young children. For those who are too frail to return to work, they and their young grandchildren live in poverty and hunger which is difficult to even imagine.

The Widows Groups all contribute a portion of the proceeds of their groups efforts which are pooled to create a fund for the "Old Mamas".

Funding received for the Grandmothers is used to pay for food, medical care and transportation.