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With the stunning backdrop of the Maasai Mara behind us, zebras, wildebeest and warthogs included, our group of nine Presidians broke into two teams. One team was going accomplish the task of storytelling so that people back home knew all about the amazing work Zawadisha was achieving in Kenya, while the other team was going to create sets of trainings to help build the women’s knowledge, expertise and confidence in the areas of saving, negotiating, and investing.

Team Chui was the latter group and was made up of Shaina Kandel, Charles Knowlton, Megan Morrice, Ryan Townsend, and Christina Johnson.

After days of working with women’s groups around Maungu and in Narok, Team Chui began to sort through the mounds of information we had just experienced to accomplish our task. The individual interviews as well as the group discussions and breakaway sessions provided great examples of the challenges, innovations, and successes these women had, when it can to our three main topics for saving, negotiating, and investing.

We began by sorting the information we gathered from our experiences into Say, Do, Think, and Feel categories to understand gaps and areas of strengths and weaknesses. Clustering then enabled us gather more ideas on key concepts, possible solutions, and tactics to explore. We discussed the challenges the women faced in their villages; such as the risks of having too much money on hand and how that affected their willingness to save or confidence issues especially when interacting with men and how that affected their ability to negotiate. We also highlighted the successes some of the women found such as using table banking as a informal way to take loans and buying and selling of livestock as a way to save money with out having too much actual money in hand. We identified mentorship, role-playing, Q&A sessions and sharing of success stories as positive ways to deploy the information we wanted the women to learn. Cindy, Zawadisha’s on the ground coordinator was there to answer all our questions and help guide us in the right directions when ideas were flowing.

By the end we created a set of three trainings; saving, negotiating, and investing, each with learning objectives, deployment examples for each learning objective and reinforcements for each learning objective. We also came up with the idea of a calendar that highlighted key rules of thumb to remember about saving, negotiating, or investing. The calendar would serve as a positive reinforcement of the concepts learned in the training as well as a visual reminder of loan payment dates, best times for certain investments and scheduled meetings as well as a place to celebrate savings milestones.

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