Creating Businesses For Slum Mums

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Slums and informal settlements remain a significant challenge for many urban centres around the world, and the implications for municipal and local governments are profound. In many regions, the numbers of people living in slums are growing—a trend with significant implications for urban sustainability. Around one-quarter of the world’s urban population lives in slums, and since 1990, the number of people living in slums has risen by 213 million, to close to one billion

When you get to the slums of Nairobi County, all you can read is poverty and when you try thinking of a way to solve the situation, you give up on ideas because so many people living in the slums need a change in one way or another.

ROSE went ahead and conducted a focus group discussion with 15 women in the slums of Mathare to get a sense of their lives and understand what can be done to help them. Women were the focus because they are mostly the ones caring and providing for the families. Reasons being, they are either widows, have husbands who alcoholics or their husbands fled because of the responsibilities ahead of them. You find them working 2-3 jobs a day to at least get a decent income to feed the children. The jobs are not secured, it’s all about luck, so if the mother does not get someone to give her an odd job, the children sleep hungry.


        • Most of them are illiterate and thus they can’t get formal jobs anywhere, the only way to survive is by looking for odd jobs or starting a small business. The ones who are at least educated, finished high school and could not afford to go to universities thus leaving them in a circumstance whereby they have to start their own small businesses


        • As much as they would want to start financially stable businesses, they don’t have access to a lot of money. Banks cannot help them because they lack the substantial collateral that banks need in order to provide loans


        • The few jobs they get and the small businesses they run ie house managing, selling peanuts and street food, is only giving them enough money to pay rent and buy food. Since school fees is not enough it forces children to start doing odd jobs at a very young age to help out in the house.

Our Work

The women get to decide what product they would need to kick off their business. We evaluate the idea and give them a chance by buying the product if idea is viable. Some of the products they ask for are sewing machines, blenders, food trolleys etc. ROSE gets the products for them and they immediately start business