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Exploration of the Community’s Power.

Empowerment is what the community needs for its betterment.

Photo of Emerimana Daniel Christian
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All over the world, there are people who need to be empowered financially. Identifying these people is very difficult, as they are submerged in a flood of other people, but possible. They can be tracked down through the use of the power of the community. Therefore, this paper discusses how the power of community might be used in order to financially empower people who need it. The paper highlights three steps that can be followed in the process of identifying the people who deserve to be financially assisted; the steps that include locating the community, brainstorming with the community, and make decisions accordingly to the brainstorming results.

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In this picture, I was with standard 7 or grade 7 pupils when I was collecting stories on how can we use the power of communities to empower those who need it most.

All communities are powerful in terms of assisting a person to identify people who need to be financially empowered. Yet, in order to empower those who real need to be financially empowered, a person would be careful when choosing the community whose power he or she might use. The person would keep in mind that the community power might be influenced by the location. For example, the views about a needy person in United States are different from the views of a needy person in Kenya. So, it is advisable for the funder to take time and know where to start. He or she had to make a research and find out the poor communities. Such an end can also be reached by using common sense. For instance refugees or displaced people are normally in most cases vulnerable people. Though vulnerable, among them are those who are talented and have well set minds. Talking to this young people in the above picture; it was a real experience on how talented people are though their inability to show up their talents.

After location of the community to interact with, a person has to explore the power of this community. The best way to explore the power of a certain community is to engage in brainstorming sessions with some of the community members. Refugees United Organization, which is one of the international organizations that operate in Kakuma Refugee Camp here in Kenya, applied the question-answer technique to find out what service refugees need which is not provided in the camp. Many people suggested ideas about keeping their documents, involving the documents they get from UNHCR and the government of Kenya. The organization came up with a project that it called M-Health. It concerns keeping documents online so that when a refugee loses this or that original document, it can still be possible to download a copy from his M-Health file. So, a funder can also use the technique, during brainstorming sessions, to get people who real need to be financially empowered.

As discussed in the paragraph above, exploring the power of the community, through brainstorming, leads to the identification of the people who merit to get empowered financially and how they would get empowered for the betterment of the community. The decision to empower the people rests with the funder. Therefore, the last step in terms of using the community power to empower people who need it most concerns making decisions accordingly to the result of the brainstorming. Getting the identified people would be the first decision. When the people are met, they would be asked to present their action plans. If their actions plans are found admirable, the financially needy people can then be provided with the empowerment in question.

To conclude, in order to use the power of the community to financially empower people who need it most, a person would explore the power of a chosen community. He or she would brainstorm with members of that community and ask them to show people in their community who need to get empowered financially and why they think the people need to. Their discussion would be well planned and happen through the application of the question-answer technique.



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Photo of Tina Mao

Hi Daniel, I totally agree with what you are saying here. In order to help a community to improve, it's not just a matter of financial assistance. It's also about utilizing the strengths of the community and improve the community as a whole. Even if there is financial backup, it cannot be guaranteed that a community can get better. And if it does, it is still limited if there is no leadership and no organization to help guide them in the right direction. Furthermore, the needs of every community is different. So you like you said, before providing financial assistance to a community, one must first understand the needs of the community and the resources they already bring to the table. From there, those elements can be leveraged by using financial means to help improve the community. Thank you for bringing awareness to this issue.

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Photo of Emerimana Daniel Christian

I always believe that by embracing the sense of social empowerment, we can make our communities to be better place. I have a passion to be one of the influential contributor and as well as engaging the rest of fellow human being by letting them know that we are part of the change that we want to be.

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Photo of Luisa Fernanda

Daniel,
This is a great share on how communities can take initiative to come up with solutions themselves. Do people use savings accounts in your community? How do they get access to loans? What is important to learn about finances in your community?

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Photo of Emerimana Daniel Christian

Luisa;
Frankly speaking, savings are barely impossible because of the low-income generating system that do not meet the needs that people have, and for loans no bank will guarantee a loan to someone who do not have savings. How can you save what you do not have? In the response to this question; I still believe that the only way that people in my community can use savings accounts is by creating some generating activity to them. This will enable them to earn something and so using savings accounts.
On the other hand, I would like to bring to your attention that the most used saving account is the traditional one or a very local system. It is called: “IKIRIMBA” this is a kirundi naming word which is simply related to the system of group savings. For example ten people may come togther and have an agreement of contributing 1000ksh per week and they align themselves on how they will be receiving the money from the first person to the last. And this is mostly used by the small businessmen because for them it is somehow easy for them to get the 1000ksh per week but for incentive with who get from 4500ksh up to 7500; it is not easy to join such saving group. In other words, this systems is also perceived as “Merry-go-round.” This system is not secure because from my personal experiences, I have heard a lot of cases whereby some of the members of those group savings did receive the money and found their way back home or just decided to no longer stay in the camp.
In addition to that, most of the time displaced people by conflict are perceived to be people who wil not make any development to their hosted countries. And this is the most challenge that face refugees. Learning about finances is one of the effective skills that my community need and I believe that it can help them to transform their local communities into a better place. For instance, it is from my knowledge on how I can save a little amount of money from my incentive that I am helping three neglected children back home to have access to school. As a survivor of neglect, I do this as step towards the accomplishment of my ambitious and that is “educating neglected children for a better future.” It also enables me to help some of my friends around me who are in need of my help. But the most challenge that I face is my low earning. Regardless the fact that refugees do not have resources of income; I think that teaching them about budgeting, safeguarding and as well as accountability—it would help my community with a lifelong impact in their daily struggles.