Empowering women to support holistic community growth
We founded Mifuko Trust in 2012 to tackle poverty and empower families and communities through projects that improve their well-being in the rural region Machakos in Kenya.
Empowering women is an effective way of helping communities as a whole.
Our mission with Mifuko Trust:
- Improve the livelihoods of local women groups
- Support sustainable development
- Achieve an international exchange of know-how and promote the handicraft tradition of the local community.
Our first project in 2013
The first Mifuko Trust project took place in 2013 in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi. We helped Steve Kine, a professional smith, buy a container in which his workshop was located. Steve Kine's landlord was selling the container and Steve was about to lose his workspace. As the new owner of the container, Steve does not have to pay a monthly rent or worry about the future of his property, which makes planning and business development much easier. Part of the container was paid by Steve Kine and the rest of the money was donated by Mifuko Trust.
Steve Kine used to make aluminium jewellery and other metal items for Mifuko.
Domestic animals for every family
In summer 2015, Mifuko Trust bought a Kenyan cow with the revenue from two events – Nordic Christmas Market in Nairobi 2014 and Restaurant Day event in Helsinki in 2015. The cow now lives with a group of Mifuko´s basket makers in a rural village in Machakos County and the artisans, her happy and proud caretakers, decided to call her Mifuko. Mifuko Trust paid vet expenses and the cowshed and the artisans prepared for the arrival of the cow by cultivating fodder.
Mifuko’s milk brings the artisans a new source of regular income. Some of it is spent on cow fodder, and the remaining profit goes to a mutually agreed purpose. In the future, the group aims to use their savings to build a small house to let and to bring rental income. Working together for a shared goal improves co-operation skills, which then empowers the whole group.
Our goal is that eventually all Mifuko groups will have their own domestic animals.
In due time, the future calf of Mifuko will brighten the future of another group of basket makers.
Protection from sun and rain & dry toilets
Although the artisans usually work from home, every week they get together to meet up and work in the beautiful outdoors of Kenya. Whilst assessing the artisans’ needs, it became evident that the meetings would be best kept in a shelter that protects from both sunshine and rain.
Together with Vilma Autio Mifuko Trust designed a shelter made of ecological and locally sourced materials that includes a system for collecting rainwater as well as a dry toilet. The dry toilet is designed by Huussi Ry.
The collection of rainwater and the promotion of sanitary development through the dry toilet have benefited the whole community, as the project has been a valuable source of knowhow for local builders and has strengthened the community by providing a common meeting place.
This pilot project was designed specifically to be easily replicated in other communities, and it does not require expensive tools.
The first shelter and dry toilet were built during the spring of 2017 and in 2020 we will see new dry toilets being built.
Mifuko Trust is currently reaching over 600 families
Mifuko Trust works with Mifuko Design´s 20 women´s self-help groups, involving up to 35 women each, thereby reaching approximately 600-700 families in the low income rural region Machakos in Kenya. Each of the 600-700 families has approximately 5 people, therefore directly impacting the lives of approximately 3,000 - 3,500 women, men and children.
The artisans´ education levels are low and they typically work with farming and housekeeping, during their free time they weave baskets for Mifuko. Climate change has lead to recurrent drought making farming an all too often unreliable source of income and food and increasing the importance of a holistic approach to livelihood.
Monitoring and reporting
Mifuko Trust does regular monitoring of the needs and wishes of the women that Mifuko works with. Through regularly assessing their needs, new projects and ideas are developed and funds are raised for them through special events and institutional funders.
The aid reaches the beneficiaries directly and through Mifuko’s consultants in Kenya and our regular visits with the artisans we are able to follow the development of the projects.