Briefly tell us about yourself and your organization?
I am Joshua Oliech, the founder of Kisumu West Aid Community-Based Organization (CBO). I am a widower, with two children and striving to make a positive impact in our community. My goal is to inspire and support as many vulnerable individuals as possible. I am characterized by my strong work ethic, ambition, and decisive decision-making.
Professionally, I am a contractor and a structural engineer, but above all, I am a dedicated father. My driving force comes from the belief that those who are less fortunate deserve unwavering support, even when they have no one else to turn to. This philosophy is the cornerstone of my actions.
Kisumu West Aid (KIWA), the organization I established, came into being in 2015 and gained official registration in 2021 as a self-help organization. Situated in Kisumu, Western Kenya, our mission revolves around creating a world where orphans, widows, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, and people with disabilities are given the importance they deserve. The overarching vision of our organization is to empower community members to become catalysts for change within their own communities. By initiating solutions and extending a helping hand to the less fortunate, we strive to create a more equitable and supportive society.
What motivated you to start your social enterprise?
Growing up, I faced challenges while growing up in a modest environment. This upbringing instilled in me a strong aspiration to establish a reality where the most vulnerable individuals hold significance within our community. My ambition has always been to provide support and aid to those less fortunate, assisting them in their growth towards becoming more empowered members of the community, thereby contributing to its overall development.
Furthermore, I possess personal experience in the realm of single parenting, which greatly motivated me to extend a helping hand to widows and orphans. My own encounters with single parenting served as a driving force, urging me to facilitate the progress of these individuals, enabling them to achieve personal development and an improved quality of life.
So far, what has been the impact of your social enterprise?
We’ve extended our assistance to orphans through various means, including covering their school fees and supplying essential materials and food to vulnerable families. Our efforts don’t stop there – we’ve also focused on addressing emotional and psychological distress by offering counseling, training resources, and facilities.
Additionally, we’ve taken significant strides in empowering widows and young individuals with diverse abilities. Through our initiatives, we’ve imparted valuable skills and technical expertise, increasing their employability and enhancing their overall livelihoods. Our commitment extends beyond mere skills – we’re dedicated to helping them secure meaningful employment opportunities for a better future.
In line with our objectives, we’ve also organized team-building activities that serve as a platform to foster social connections and cultivate harmony within the community. These activities play a crucial role in bringing people together, fostering a positive social environment that contributes to the overall well-being of the community.
What are the major challenges you are currently facing in your social enterprise?
The organization is currently undergoing rapid expansion, which is a positive development. However, we are faced with challenges in managing our program admissions due to the growing demand. Balancing this demand with our available resources has become a concern for us. Given the increasing number of individuals we are dedicated to supporting, our resources have become stretched.
Additionally, we find ourselves in a situation where our resources are limited, making it challenging to effectively facilitate our various activities and adequately train our participants. Compounding this challenge, we are also grappling with a shortage of capital, which is hindering our operational capacity. In response to this, we are actively seeking both financial support and volunteers who are willing to contribute their time and efforts to help propel the organization’s growth.
Mention one big change you will like to see in your line of work e.g. policy change, behavior change, institutional support, more collaboration etc.
I am eager to foster greater collaboration, as it holds the potential to cultivate a more vibrant social entrepreneurial environment for our members.
Do you have a final message for a budding social entrepreneur who is interested in your field of work?
Engaging in the noble task of assisting the less fortunate within the community is profoundly inspiring. A hand that gives is truly bestowed with blessings.