Spotlight on the Smart Center

My colleague, Elin and I held back our emotions during a meeting with Dan Olga , a new Kiva Zip trustee. ‘What would you do if your children had not eaten food the night before and your husband had not sent money?’ Dan described how mothers would do anything for their children, even sleeping with a truck driver for 200 shillings ($2.30), so that they are able feed their children.  Siaya, where Daniel is from and where he has started the Smart Center, is frequented by truck drivers on their way to Uganda and Rwanda. 

Here are some facts about Siaya County
-the HIV prevalence is 24%
-It has one of the highest infant mortality rates 44/ 10,000 due to malnutrition and malaria
-89% of the population is illiterate

The Smart Center is a social enterprise where woman can bring their young children for pre-primary education and for breakfast and lunch. These women then learn how to read and write. The next step is entrepreneurship training, during which groups develop a business plan. The group of Kiva Zip borrowers from Smart Center have developed a business proposal for food production through poultry and vegetable farming. Below are two of our Kiva Zip borrowers, a teacher and cook at the Smart Center.


Children and Orphans at the Smart Center


Poultry farm which they want to expand to 100 chickens


An outdoor classroom at Lefunga girls

Daniel has also developed a program with the Lefunga girls high school where young girls who have given birth at the age of 11/12 can return to complete their secondary education.

About the author


Shy will be in Nairobi, Kenya with Sanergy and Kiva Zip. She looks forward to working with Sanergy's Fresh Life Operators in the innovative eco-sanitation model. Prior to joining the Kiva Fellows Program, she worked in health care in Dubai/Muscat, and at McGill's psychiatry hospital. She has always wanted to work in the development sector volunteering with Acumen Fund and Kidzpositve in South Africa, where she was involved with water sanitation and pediatric HIV. She has completed workshops in Corporate Social Responsibility and Emergencies with the UNHCR. Shy spent the last six weeks in education projects in Kenya with the Aga Khan Foundation and would like to begin her masters after the fellowship.