Giving Back

Ruth Owino

Managing Director, Brogibro Safaris & Events Management Limited

Kenyan SheTrades in the Commonwealth member in the tourism sector

I manage Brogibro Safaris & Event Management Ltd., a tour operator company that provides top quality services to tourists, travellers, and all corporate and individual clients both from within and outside Kenya. The biggest motivator that drove me to establish my company in 2nd January, 2005 was the passion I had for the tourism industry and events management. I feel very passionate about any project at hand and the dedication and the outcome brings me joy and fulfilment.

Keeping my business going has been quite challenging considering women are overlooked the world over and Kenya is not of any exception. Acquiring funds has been a major barrier ever since I launched my business. Securing a loan from any investor is a major setback at all times. It has been difficult to provide the collateral required such as property, as I do not solely own my properties. 

The SheTrades in the Commonwealth Programme has been very beneficial for my company, and I cannot even begin to describe the great support I have received from the Programme since April 2018. Due to SheTrades support I was able to exhibit in 2 renown international trade fairs in 2018 (WTM Africa and London), and I will soon be attending ITB Berlin 2019 in March. The company has benefitted the most from the exposure and the kind of clients we have accessed from the international trade fairs. 

Fortunately, Brogibro Safaris & Events Management Ltd. has acquired great turnover since 2018 with travel agent partners from United Kingdom, China and Turkey. For instance, we have currently received 21 Turkey Government Ministers for a conference at the end of January 2019. Due to SheTrades support from April – January 2019, we have been able to secure $ 112,561.25 of actual sales.

Following all these achievements due to SheTrades support, Brogibro Safaris & Events Management Ltd. has been able to contribute greatly towards the project – Return Back to Community, which we established in 2016 in Rusinga Island.  Once we establish fully in this aria, we shall then move to Uhanga in Siaya County. We work with widows and orphans and for sustainability, and from the amount that we receive from the trips we offer to the widows in terms of soft loans at a rate of 2% per month. The main aims of the loans is to empower the women economically so that they can start small businesses to help them take their children to school and also be able to put food on the table.

As of 2017, estimates of Rusinga’s population range between 35,000 and 40,000. The entire island is part of the Homa Bay County. Most residents of Rusinga make their living from subsistence agriculture (maize and millet), as well as fishing as the main source of income. The leading causes of death in this area are HIV/AIDS related, with an HIV prevalence of 26% (Ministry of Health Kenya: HIV Estimates, 2015).

Homa Bay County has a population of 1,101,901, comprising of males (48%) and females (52%). HIV prevalence in Homa Bay is nearly 4.5 times higher than the national prevalence at 26.0%. The county contributed 15.1% and 14.0 % of the total new HIV infections in Kenya among children and adults respectively. (Kenya HIV Estimates 2015)

So far, we have supported 24 widows with a total number of orphans at about 120. We started this project after having worked at an NGO whereby we had a project of PMCT (Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV) apparently these regions weren’t covered by the project.

With the help of the local teachers, one Principal Teacher assisted us in identifying the most venerable widows to help in this small way.  Since this region is dominated with Fishing, most of the women opted to do fishing business in small scale, some got engaged into paper and soap making, tailoring, basket weaving, beadwork and patchwork.  The money is provided on a monthly basis with a return of 2% every month.  The demand is huge…..quite big but we pray and hope one day we shall be able to meet the demand even halfway!

We started by providing a loan of Kshs. 2,000.00 and some of them have grown to Kshs. 10,000/month.  The total amount issued so far is Kshs. 210,080. We only have one defaulter as at 31st January, 2019, hopefully by end of February, she would have cleared and taken another loan in-order for her to move to the next level.