A Kenyan women group pooled their cash together so they could build housing, and were able to construct a 5-floor apartment building that has at least 100 rooms.
The women’s cooperative is called “The Murang’a County Women SACCO.”
Last year, the organization unveiled the building, which was built through almost $1 million in small contributions made by the members of the group. Some of the small daily contributions were as little as $0.10. The women are now landlords of the property, which is the home to many organizations members and other customers who are supplying the group with a steady income supply.
Now, the women are looking to expand into other real estate investments and ventures, including the purchase of another 2,000 acres of land from the money that is coming from their current tenants. When the apartments are at full capacity, the building can house up to 408 people, and could generate over $10,000 per month in rental fees from occupants, although that figure may be a bit smaller considering that some of the women who are in charge of the organization may also be living in the building.
Group member Margret Wanjiku says that this venture has changed her life.
“We are now seeing a bright future. The SACCO is helping us achieve what we could not have managed individually,” Wanjiku told News Deeply.
“Even as we struggled to raise $0.10 in savings a day, some women scorned us, accusing us of not finding better ways to invest our money. Today, the same women are joining the SACCO in droves,” she added.
According to farmer Grace Ndegwa, who is a member of the group says, that similar organizations existed before SACCO, which allowed women to pool their money together, but with these groups the money was regularly spent on everyday items. SACCO took a different approach, by not taking any of the money and allowing it to accumulate.
“It’s sad that, over the years, the women’s contributions were only used to buy [things like] household utensils,” Ndegwa said.
Since announcing the completion of the project, the cooperative has accepted invitations from seven other counties to teach others how to start similar organizations.
Photos courtesy of NewsDeeply (Bernard Kimani)