Our Current Program
We are pleased to announce the formation of the Kenya Quilts for Empowerment Community Based Organization (CBO). This spring our Board realized we were mature enough to operate with our own organization in Kenya. Under the leadership of our Kenya Program Director, Norah Otondo, it is now a reality. The mission and vision of QFE in the US and the QFE CBO in Kenya are aligned to empower impoverished women and girls to build resilience, self-confidence, and economic independence. Our primary focus is on supporting obstetric fistula and young sexual assault survivors.
The Executive Committee of the Kenya CBO has met, elected their officers, and approved the by-laws. The Committee’s women members are seen in this photo.
We are indebted to Zedekiah Otolo, the Executive Committee’s Chairperson for his expertise and support in establishing the QFE CBO. You can learn about his outstanding qualifications in the Team Section.
Just one year after forming our own nonprofit, QFE is now able to exclusively manage our program, including choosing the women we work with and how they are supported. We are committed to providing psychosocial support in an environment that incorporates our participants’ individual strengths and personal goals.
Our model for supporting economic independence is based on several factors, including paying our women more than the Kenyan Fair Trade Wage each month for their work. The impact of this personal income cannot be underestimated. Our experience is that a first priority is to pay for school fees if the woman is supporting children, then food and household upkeep.
Significantly, our model is also based on the requirement that all of our women belong to an income-generating support group. The amount women are paid each month is then matched by QFE with a payment to their support group. The group has its own constitution, officers, and bank account. A business plan is developed for every proposed project, such as investing in life stock or buying land. All women receive regular training in business and savings management.
This economic empowerment not only improves lifestyle, but enhances the women’s dignity and self-esteem. It liberates women to realize their potential and self-worth after experiencing trauma, stigma, and poverty.
We will be expanding our mission in 2019 to include supporting young sexual assault survivors who do not have other safe living options. Some of these young women will have had extensive surgical repair following their assault. We will provide them a safe and loving environment where they can heal together with trauma informed counseling. We will pay for their upkeep and education, with the goal of supporting them through high school.