About the organization
Founded in 1998, and operating in the Kiambu and Kyuso counties of Kenya, WEM Integrated Health Services (WEMIHS) works towards healthy and empowered communities by building the capacity of people at the household level. Using an integrated approach, WEMIHS supports communities to develop skills and knowledge to manage natural resources, improve the economic status of individuals and households, and minimize the effects of HIV/AIDS and other illnesses. Women head over 80% of the households that WEMIHS supports.
How WEMIHS translates this aspiration into action
What does it take for resource-poor women to leap out of poverty? A range of integrated services that address their personal, family, and community needs. WEMIHS’ core Sustainable Livelihoods program has given over 2,600 households access to financial training and funds to support their income generating activities. Today, the women have over 5 million Kenyan shillings in savings. In addition, WEMIHS has worked with the households to develop environmentally sustainable agriculture practices; a program for grandmothers to care for orphaned grandchildren; an early childhood education initiative for children under 8; and a mentorship program for adolescent girls. All of its work leverages indigenous knowledge and marries them with more modern tools to ensure communities change under their own terms.
Why WEMIHS matters
WEMIHS’s approach empowers economically disadvantaged and marginalized women to develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence to take ownership of the development of their communities. The organization places the power of building economic assets in the hands of the community, rather than depending on external resources. WEMIHS’ work not only combats poverty, but does so in a principled, empowering, and sustainable way.
How your fundraising supported WEMIHS
During AiD’s first campaign, we supported WEM Integrated Health Service’s (WEMIHS) village banking mechanism called Village Development Fund (VDF) that brought financial services to the poor. Through the VDF, over 542 households received financial literacy and management education, and were given access to banking and loan services. Today, 72% of the women in the program are still saving, and they have established an additional health welfare fund that has served over 80% of program participants. AiD is thrilled about the program’s promising start and will continue to support WEMIHS over the next year to strengthen its programs and structures for more impact.