Former Koinonia Beneficiary Wins a Youth Enterpreneurship Award

Mr. Samuel Mang’era Mwita (22) led other youth (former Koinonia Beneficiaries from Anita and Ndugu Mdogo homes) to scoop the Kito-Domogo Enterpreneurship Challenge Award. Samuel and his Staff Investment Group (SIG) hope to enhance reintegration success among care-leavers and street youth.

Mr. Samuel Mang’era Mwita  led other youth (former Koinonia Beneficiaries from Anita and Ndugu Mdogo homes) to scoop the Kito-Domogo Enterpreneurship Challenge Award. Samuel and his Staff Investment Group (SIG) hope to enhance reintegration success among care-leavers and street youth.

 Story by Samuel  Mang’era Mwita

My name is Samuel Mang’era Mwita. I am a former Koinonia Community beneficiary having grown up in Ndugu Mdogo home in Kerarapon from 2007 December to 2010 December. I also managed to complete my secondary school education in the year 2014 from Domus Mariae School (Popularly known as “DMS”). I am at the moment a youth peer educator at families to families, a Koinonia Project meant to ensure the success of the reintegration process. I am also assisting in the families to families’ income generating project where we raise about 500 chicken for the Ngong and surrounding areas markets.

Just like all other youth who grew up in charitable homes, I had my own share of childhood challenges. My family had little means and hence life was very difficult. I had to fend for myself for most of my childhood. The solace came when I was admitted in Ndugu Mdogo where most of my basic needs were met. I now can confidently face life and the future.

My experience of life and upbringing have molded me adequately to face all manner of challenges I encounter. “I am not afraid of difficulties, since for most of my life, I have been in their midst and steered myself out of them successfully.” One of my colleagues in speaking of these challenges says “Streets have hard lessons and calamities that can hardly be endured by ordinary men. Once you become their resident then you learn to eat what sickens the mainstream society, find a night’s comfort on flooded corridors and bridges and last but not least find security in the unsafe.” I am not sure if I can fully say that I can divorce my life experience from the above quote, however, what I have done is to invest on various ways to find inspiration and live positively. I believe that I can achieve any dream I set out to achieve despite the surmounting challenges that may present themselves before me. God helps me win. I am a winner today and will win many more battles tomorrow!

This molding was the main motivation and driving force behind my participation in the Kito-Domogo Youth Enterpreneurship challenge. When I saw the challenge I quickly organized a group of four people made of two young ladies formerly beneficiaries of Anita Home for Girls (Cynthia Nduta and Mary) and two young men former beneficiaries of Ndugu Mdogo (George Ngare and Myself) into what I christened “Staff Investment Group” (SIG). We came up with a business plan under the theme of “rearing and selling chicken and meat products in order to provide financial freedom to needy youth”. Through our project idea we hoped to provide a channel which could help youth leaving care reintegrate well into the society. In essence, our project is a social enterprise which on one hand seeks to generate as much profits as possible. We do not intend to make losses in any way. On the other, we intend to provide reintegration solutions to societal problems encountered by care-leavers and former street youth.

At first we were very doubtful about our idea. It did not appear to be innovative and strong enough to make it through the preliminary selection of the challenge. Hence we approached several friends who challenged our idea and prompted us to make improvements on it. They made us think beyond the business aspect of our project to inculcate a social impact element effectively. Their challenges made us to change the direction of our thinking from a pure business that maximizes profits only to a social enterprise that has a double impact on problem solution and profit maximization.

Despite having refined our idea, we were not confident enough. We however decided to present it for the competition. To our surprise, it was nominated amongst other eight finalists from a myriad project ideas. The eight finalists were subjected to popular voting through the website. We were once more surprised as days went on, our project was becoming more popular than all the others. We hence received many votes twice our second competitor and many more times against all others. The voters also expressed their great support to our idea through many inspirational and encouraging messages.

In the midnight of 30th October 2015, we were declared the winners of the Kito-Domogo 2015 Youth Enterpreneurship Challenge. We were far from each other hence we could not shout together. However we called each other and shared our excitement. Several friends called too to congratulate us. From a brainstorming idea, now with this victory, staff investment group (SIG) is a living enterprise. We are sure it will not only start but live to become a formidable social impact oriented firm. We shall be privileged to also build the project with Kito International who are our venture capital providers.

Now that we have won, we have derived many lessons. We realize that any social enterpreneurship idea could be an innovative idea. All that matters is the impact it purports to have in the society. Secondly, winning is not easy, you must invest a lot of resources in terms of leadership, time, communication, physical energy, networking and enabling your supporters to support you. It means that people will always support you and your idea when you provide them with the right platform to do so. The other issue is that consulting whether in your project team or outside, help you to clarify your idea. We can attest to this when we received a feedback that our idea was “very simple and ordinary but clearly detailed” by a very significant person.

Lastly, to finish our story without thanking our dedicated supporters would be in vain. We also recognize the great work done by Kito-Dimogo in promoting youth enterpreneurship. God bless you all!