Ushindi Empowerment Group

Ushindi Empowerment Group

Dedicated to transforming lives by empowering communities and vulnerable groups

Ushindi Empowerment group is a women led community based organization dedicated to transforming lives by empowering communities and vulnerable groups.

We do this by partnering with and supporting grassroots leaders, women and youth led organizations build their capacity to meet some of their community’s most complex challenges. We believe in building capacity and the pursuit of initiatives that create a safer, more equitable and a more sustainable future for Africa. We continue to invest in Strategic partnerships in Kenya and beyond.

Our Focus Areas

We work with communities and community leaders in through four focus areas: Economic empowerment, Gender Justice, Creative economy and Climate Action. Through our work, we seek to improve livelihoods through the work we do in order to guarantee Economic Empowerment, Health and safety, reduced inequalities, improve Education and protect our Environment.

#1 Economic Empowerment

We seek to provide women and youth with the knowledge, skills and Networks to grow sustainable businesses and establish a competitive entrepreneurial ecosystem in the regions we work. So far we have implemented 3 economic empowerment specific projects mainly the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs which is a U.S Embassy funded project that weeks to and a mentorship program for ecopreneurs in Kenya.

Current & Past Projects

The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is an award-winning training and coaching platform specifically designed for women microbusiness owners. It gives enterprising women the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses. By promoting women’s economic opportunities and ensuring that women have the capabilities and resources needed to participate in the economy, the AWE program directly supports the U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality.

AWE uses a hybrid model that combines the online platform Dream Builder (developed through a partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan) with in-class mentoring and facilitation. Through AWE, participants learn core business skills, then get together as a class to discuss the material with experienced implementers, local mentors, and U.S. Exchange Alumni. Partnerships with local NGOs, universities, and chambers of commerce offer women the opportunity to amplify their newly learned business skills and network with other business-people through speed mentoring, pitch competitions, and entrepreneurship fairs.

A 2021 evaluation of the program showed that 74 percent of women who complete the AWE program increase their business earnings and 29 percent hire more staff. By giving women the tools and the confidence they need, the AWE program is generating income and creating jobs in women-led businesses, driving local prosperity in more than 80 countries worldwide.

In Kenya, AWE program is equipping women with practical skills needed to create sustainable skills to create sustainable businesses. It seeks to promote economic prosperity by creating Opportunities for women with brilliant ideas to become successful entrepreneurs. The main Sponsors of AWE Kenya are the State Department, ECA at State, US Embassy Kenya and Implemented by Ushindi Empowerment from 2022. The project is currently ongoing and thus far Kenya has trained over 600  women by 2024 With Ushindi Empowerment group implementing  3 of this cohorts from 2022.The counties covered include Nairobi, Machakos, Malindi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Lamu, and Mombasa.

We partnered with Engage Jamii Initiatives, a grassroots organization in Kajiado to offer entrepreneurship training to survivors of gender based violence in Nairobi and Kajiado County.

Participants were trained on how to save and how to start a business.

We partnered with Film Fupi, an initiative of the U.S Embassy and Youth Film Platform where we offered 3 days training on entrepreneurship and Life skills to young film makers in Nairobi County.

#2 Gender Justice

We seek to pursue a free, fair and equal society free of Gender Based Violence and Discrimination.

Current & Past Projects

SAUTI Kenya is a leadership program designed to strengthen the role of women and youth in advocacy. This initiative works towards building sustainable county-focused capacity of women led civic society actors.  Our advocacy efforts are centered around four thematic areas i.e. Climate change, peace security and governance, poverty eradication and health.

Cohort 1: Strengthening the role of women in peace and governance-Kisumu, Nairobi, Mombasa

This was an initiative that worked towards building sustainable county-focused capacity of women-led civic society actors, female student leaders, community influencers, and common interest groups that focus on peace and counter-radicalization for effective promotion of human rights and conflict management in Mombasa County, Kisumu County, and parts of Nakuru County, Kenya. The project was led by a team of women leaders (US embassy program alumni) and like-minded partners with a passion to effect change in Kenya’s governance. The project managed to train 60 grassroots women leaders in effective advocacy and campaigning, advocacy communications, social entrepreneurship & organizational sustainability, and theatre for community engagement. As a result, hundreds of community members were impacted through peace focused communication and campaigns, short films and theatre.

Cohort 2: Strengthening the role of women in climate change mitigation

The main objective of the project was to work with Kenyan women and communities to address climate change by increasing awareness and use of clean domestic/ energy in rural Kenya while also offering options for economic advancement and empowerment. The project identified sixty (60) women specifically women who run CBOs, Chama leaders, women in agriculture and farmer associations, female community influencers in the target counties with potential or engaged in part in effective advocacy efforts in the community and equipped them with skills on effective advocacy and entrepreneurship, specifically the making, use and sale of briquettes as a business for self-reliance by end of the project. 600 women group members through were reached through cascade trainings by the trained leaders on clean energy for domestic use ensuring 2400 people access to clean energy through the use of briquettes. The project was led by US Kenya Exchange Alumni and was implemented in Kericho, Kakamega and Kisumu counties.

An annual forum organized in partnership with the Global Network for Women Shelters targeting women’s shelters and gender based violence response helplines. The 2023 forum brought together more than 70 women’s shelters representatives, as well as civil society and government stakeholders such as UN Women, Meta, Centre for Domestic Training and Development (CDTD), COVAW, Usikimye, Wangu Kanja Foundation, the State Department for Gender and the National Government Affirmative Action Fund. The goal of the forum is to create a platform for network building, stakeholder engagement, sharing of experiences, and capacity strengthening on creating stronger support mechanisms/structures for survivors of gender-based violence.

This project was designed to empower communities by advancing gender and social justice in Africa through programmatic and organizational support rendered to community-based organizations’ working to address sexual and gender based violence. The aim was to provide community-based actors with the leadership, and operational and structural support they need in order to maximize their impact. The project was designed in response to the rising cases of gender based violence and human rights violations that occurred during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Some of the project’s achievements include:

  •  Offering support to grassroots organizations’ working to address police brutality in Kenya due to the rise in cases during COVID 19 response curfew and lockdowns. We co-organized the #EndPoliceBrutalityKe and #BlacklivesMatterKe protests that mobilized more than 600 people in direct nonviolent action. A petition was effectively presented and read in parliament with the security committee committing to present a response. This was done in partnership with Amnesty International (Kenya), Usikimye.
  • Mobilized grassroots organizations in the development and presentation of an online petition. The petition received over 1000 signatures and the campaign contributed to commitments by the ministry of education to ensure GBV messaging is incorporated in education curricula. The campaign also included awareness raising and engagement that reached 3 million people on and off social media. 
  •  Developed an online psycho-social support program that offered free counseling to more than three hundred (336) survivors of sexual and gender based violence survivors by working with volunteer counselors. 
  •  Developed a safety planning tool for survivors of domestic violence.
  •  Updated the sexual and gender based violence service providers database for access to community based organizations to ease the process of referral.
  •  Assisted member grassroots organizations in crowd funding for key programs. Specifically, the Mathare Social Justice Centre and Defenders Coalition. We raised USD 5,500 to support the bail and fund of activists that were arrested as they marched against police brutality in Kenya.

#3 Climate Action

We seek to reduce harmful emissions and increase community resilience and preparedness in climate change mitigation.

Current & Past Projects

Our project Idea is focused on Helping Local Ecopreneurs grow by leveraging Technology to gain access to Industry mentorship. The project is aimed at enabling business growth through guiding and Mentoring local Ecopreneurs through their business journey and organizing the necessary business.

Linkages that would shorten the learning curve and establish the connections to grow their enterprises. One of the key challenges being faced by Ecopreneurs is limited knowledge entrepreneurial skills and the need for incubation, acceleration and mentorship to succeed in their ventures.

We week to address the challenge of limited knowledge entrepreneurial skills and the need for Incubation, acceleration and mentorship to succeed in their ventures and hence create a sustainable Future .Ecopreneurship is a key driver to creation of innovative solutions to environmental challenges, and create sustainable business models by working together with (and for) the environment.

Our pilot program shall target to reach 100 enterprises in the 4 counties. The indirect beneficiaries’ are Over 400 households and 1600 community members will benefit from the initiate since the initiative helps to create and sustain employment. EKONNECT is a US Embassy –TechCamp funded project STEERED BY A TEAM OF TechCamp alumni that seeks to provide mentorship to Ecoprenuers in Kenya and beyond.

Cohort 2: Strengthening the role of women in climate change mitigation

The main objective of the project was to work with Kenyan women and communities to address climate change by increasing awareness and use of clean domestic/ energy in rural Kenya while also offering options for economic advancement and empowerment. The project identified sixty (60) women specifically women who run CBOs, Chama leaders, women in agriculture and farmer associations, female community influencers in the target counties with potential or engaged in part in effective advocacy efforts in the community and equipped them with skills on effective advocacy and entrepreneurship, specifically the making, use and sale of briquettes as a business for self-reliance by end of the project. 600 women group members through were reached through cascade trainings by the trained leaders on clean energy for domestic use ensuring 2400 people access to clean energy through the use of briquettes. The project was led by US Kenya Exchange Alumni and was implemented in Kericho, Kakamega and Kisumu counties.

#4 Creative Economy

We seek to strengthen the creative economy by providing sustainable solutions to enable the creative strengthen and monetize their craft.

Current & Past Projects

This is an art hub that acts as a safe space for artists and creatives alike to come and share and project work values and ideas, and spark conversations that will need to collaborations or new art forms being projected in the local art scene in Kajiado. The goal is to connect to different art scenes internationally, put local art out there and make it segmented into its own diverse range. Specific focus is given to peri urban and rural talent. Atmosphere Collective wholly believe in mentoring people and helping the grow holistically from an artist’s perspective and a person as well.

Testimonials

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