'Mamasafi' is a popular Swahili word used to refer to a freelance laundry service providing woman in Kenya. Mamasafi is a private entity in Kenya. Conceptualized in 2016 and established in 2017. The raison d'etre of the company is to improve the living conditions of low income families in Nairobi, especially those in the slums.
Background and Objective
Women in the informal home care business mostly come from slum areas. They sit in the hot sun for long hrs everyday without getting any work to do in a day or even in a week. They had no certain sources of income, no health options, no financial knowledge with regard to savings culture and most of them had no proper training or education.
Actions and Implementation
At the start of the initiative there was a problem finding, accessing and identifying where and who the women are.
The weather in the capital at the time was not conducive for our daily operations. We were usually exposed to the scorching sun rays and heat in Nairobi.
The acquisition of legal documents in order to necessitate efficient operations of the services rendered by the women.
Convincing the women that the initiative was a good cause and that we were not out to take advantage of them.
Language barriers due to the low levels of education amongst the registered women groups.
Operational as well as financial short comings. Due to the nature of the initiative we have had to deal with a lot of women across different parts of the capital. Despite the contribution of the main shareholders, the scope of the business has suffered a short supply of funds.
Most of these challenges were solved through the appropriate strategies formulated by the team. Proper and continuous enlightenment and communication with the women. Training forums conducted regularly.
Through open end questionnaires, which assisted in gathering of information,we were able to find out what exactly the public (clients) were concerned about especially on service delivery.
Outcomes and Impacts
At the moment the initiative does not have any loan financing. The shareholders provide all the working capital needed. In the near future, the company intends to form a savings society for the women in order to provide easy loan access.
Through women empowerment on the home care business, these women were able to get employment and provide in equal measure for their families.
The home care business is mainly inclined to women, therefore, these women not only get motivated in their area of service but also attain the much needed respect due to the nature of the job.
Gender and Social Inclusivity
The initiative has been replicated by other companies where they have trained women and men to do house-to-house calls of provision of home care services. e.g Parapet Cleaning services, 200 degrees Kenya.
Through sensitization and training, these women can be empowered to become socio-economically independent. Skills impartation is an important component for economic development and improvement of livelihoods and empowerment of communities.
The practice has not yet been supported by a municipal, regional or national public policy or legislation.