Who are the volunteers who became Tujengane entrepreneurs?

Who are the volunteers who became Tujengane entrepreneurs?

In 2021, a survey was conducted among the community health volunteers who enrolled to become health entrepreneurs under Tujengane project in Kenya. Socioeconomic status, motivation and demographic characteristics of 205 entrepreneurs were assessed to demonstrate the effects of entrepreneurship on their lives. Read below who are the volunteers who enroll to become entrepreneurs.

Their socioeconomic status

The average income earned by respondents per week is, on average,  KSh 100 per day (about $0.90). This reveals that they earn, on average, almost five times less than Kenya’s minimum wage of KSh 13,572 per month (about $135). Put in a global perspective, these statistics show that most of the volunteers who enroll to become entrepreneurs live well below the World Bank extreme poverty line of $1.9 per day (set in 2011).

Low incomes force more than half of respondents to give up on buying a health insurance, despite many of them have been diagnosed with one or multiple serious diseases. Overall, income and health data suggest that most of aspiring entrepreneurs live in extremely vulnerable conditions.

 

At times, I did not even have a single shilling to buy sugar. My family often went to bed without eating
- Female entrepreneur, 47 years old

Their motivation

86% of the respondents has worked as a community health volunteer for more than five years. However, the high workload and low incentive hinder them from completing all their household visits. An overwhelming 92% do not receive any monthly stipend for their work. The lack of a regular payment, coupled with the high workload, demotivates many of them.

 

I spend a lot of time doing household visits, educating my community, but I am not paid. When you work for free you reach a time that you are so much discouraged
- female entrepreneur, 53 years old

 

Key reasons why becoming community health entrepreneurs are: bringing health products to their communities and increasing their health care and business knowledge. Most important needs to meet with the earnings are business increase and paying for school fees and health care products.

 

I decided to join because my community was suffering and I wanted to help as people had to walk for hours to reach the hospital. Now, villagers are getting drugs at their doorsteps from me and this helps them a lot, and they are very happy
- male community health entrepreneur, 45 years old

Their demographic characteristics

80% of entrepreneurs are women. The average age of respondents is 44, with the oldest being 69 and the youngest being 26. Households are medium (4-6 members) or large-sized (>6 members). With respect to education, 58% of volunteers surveyed had attained secondary, 34% primary, and the remaining college education.

 

I felt that this would be an opportunity to change my life so that I can get something that can help me with providing for my many dependents when it comes to basic needs like food, health, and education
- female community health entrepreneur, 38 years old

About Tujengane

The Tujengane project trains community health volunteers in Kenya to become healthy entrepreneurs. As such they provide reliable HIV and SRHR information. At the same time, they act as mobile pharmacies by providing basic medicines and supporting products, such as soap, condoms, and washable sanitary pads. It enables them to make a living while the community profits from health services close by.

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