Our Work in
Economic Empowerment

Charlot Magayi

Charlot Magayi was orphaned at 10 in the Mukuru Kwa Njenga slums, one of the biggest slums in Nairobi. By sixteen she was a teenage mom and her journey got even harder from there. She had to drop out of school to figure out a way to fend for herself and her daughter. Her first job was selling charcoal within the slum community and it was the only fuel she could afford. Charlot and her daughter kept suffering from respiratory tract infections and when her daughter turned two she suffered a severe burn injury from a traditional stove.

After a two year break from school, she was finally able to save enough for tuition and enrolled in an adult school – which opened her eyes to the health hazards caused by charcoal and other harmful solid fuels. An enthusiast of science and social studies, she wanted to inspire fellow women to lead the fight against household air pollution in Africa!

She founded Mukuru Clean Stoves; a social enterprise that produces clean, affordable and reliable cook stoves targeting under-served markets to help mothers keep their children safe, save on fuel consumption and reduce household air pollution. The Pollination Project was honored to provide seed funding for this work.

Since 2017, they have sold over 400,000 clean cookstoves in Kenya, enabling families to make savings of over $50 Million in fuel costs while impacting the lives of over 2,000,000 people who now benefit from cleaner air within their homes while avoiding over 800,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Wairimu Mwangi
Wairimu Mwangi

Chimwemwe Chitambala

While studying at the University of Zambia, Chimwemwe Chitambala learned about the struggles of a young female fruit and vegetable seller. Realizing many Zambian women faced similar challenges in the informal sector, Chimwemwe was inspired to help. She developed a project, “Embrace Her,” funded by The Pollination Project in 2017, which provided microloans, financial literacy, and business support to a group of 12 young women. The project focused on teaching skills like record-keeping, using mobile money services, and identifying profitable business strategies.

The impact of “Embrace Her” was profound. Beneficiaries, like Emelia, testified to the positive change in their personal finance and business operations.

Chimwemwe Chitambala - Grant Advisor with The Pollination Project
Wairimu Mwangi

In its first year, the project saw 100% loan repayment from the initial women’s cohort before the pandemic. The accumulated savings proved vital during COVID-19, allowing the women to reinvest in their businesses and cover basic needs.

With a second TPP grant, Chimwemwe’s team transitioned to virtual programs, developing online financial literacy modules, recruiting volunteers from four Southern African countries for online facilitation, and enrolling 250 youths in a six-month, six-cohort virtual masterclass.

So far, Chimwemwe has been able to:

  • fund 97+ young women
  • mentor 100+ young women
  • reach 800+  young people

Jenny Nuccio

In 2013, the ImaniXchange (IXC) project was created in Mtepeni Village, which is on the outskirts of Mombasa, Kenya. IXC is a women empowerment program focused on providing job opportunities to single, widowed and disadvantaged women. The hope is that through the program and training opportunities they are helping families develop a better future and defeat poverty.

In 2015, IXC employed 21 individuals and trained women daily in sewing as well as tailoring skills. Their hope was to continue to grow their impact in the community and eventually expand to the city. In order to grow, they re-branded and made changes with their product. As they were in need of better equipment, TPP supported their project with a seed grant.

Chimwemwe Chitambala - Grant Advisor with The Pollination Project
Wairimu Mwangi
Wairimu Mwangi

With the grant they were able to:

  • Buy the equipment (sewing machines and textiles)
  • Set up a second location
  • Train 8 more women (half of whom are disabled)

In 2017 Jenny received an Impact grant from TPP to continue her important project.

Besides selling the products they create, they started holistic services (In-house childcare, a Food program, Home visits, Rise Personal Development, Dream Management, Special Events, and Team Building).

In 2023, IXC:

  • Helped 100+ artisans and staff through their holistic support programs
  • Served 62,880 warm meals
  • Offered 27 children an ongoing education while parents are at work
  • Made 48 home visits to artisans and their families

Dorcas Apoore

“For us, TPP is a game changer. Future grantees should work diligently with TPP and the results will be memorable. We are on the international stage because TPP believed in our vision. Apply to TPP and they will be there to train and support and promote your work… It is such a joy to be in the TPP family”

In 2017, Dorcas Apoore founded Advocacy for Social Inclusion and Girls Education (ASIGE), a non-governmental organization with the vision of creating skills-based training centers and sustainable livelihood empowerment initiatives for women and young people in Ghana. They also provide sexual health education, sanitary products, and sustainable vocational training.

TPP has supported the project since the very beginning in 2017, when there was a lot of passion, commitment, and dreams.  The following year, Asige received an Impact Grant.

Chimwemwe Chitambala - Grant Advisor with The Pollination Project
Wairimu Mwangi

Now, Asige has :

  • 429 rural women employees to carry out its weaving production;
  • 15K+ volunteers;
  • Over 100 sponsors;
  • 10 branches;
  • Won over 15 awards;
  • Funded 5,500 charity projects for 12,000 people in northern Ghana.

Wairimu Mwangi

“In teaching youth and those living in informal settlements how to create food gardens in their spaces and repurpose waste materials, I am helping them to care for themselves and produce beautiful products to be sold to generate income.”

With a love for sustainability and desire to design a balanced life, Wairimu Mwangi has developed a project that is changing the lives for street youth in the urban areas of Nairobi. This exceptional illustration of a circular economy is uplifting these creative youth.

Wairimu has trained over 100 young people, including teen mothers and young children, on how to grow seedlings, create income, develop vertical gardens using recycled plastic bottles and use waste materials to create beautiful planters. Many youth and children have now learned how to grow food vertically so as to avoid contamination.

When it comes to creatively repurposing materials such as fabric from construction sites and plastic bottles, Wairimu teaches young people to create many things. They enjoy being creative and savor the ability to turn something seen as waste into products that generate income. 

In looking to the future, Wairimu hopes to bring her program into more centers and help the homeless, children’s homes, people living with disabilities and many more to grow their own food and sell their own unique products.

Wairimu Mwangi
Wairimu Mwangi

Madupe Darabidan and Ayooluwa Ebire

“We are supporting young women in our community to keep being productively engaged over the course of the pandemic outbreak.”

Modupe Darabidan, Founder and Managing Director for iStarter Hub, a social enterprise that empowers young women and girls through training, peer-to-peer networking and mentorship in the areas of technology, creative designing and entrepreneurship, is deeply passionate about women and youth empowerment and technology. Together with Ayooluwa Ebire, Founder of “Girls to Queens”, a nonprofit that empowers young girls with life skills, they developed a program that helped women to create value in their lives and in society by growing their skillset.

The Girls Creativity Hub initiative, an iStarter Hub program, is an intensive Creative Designing, Entrepreneurship and Leadership skills acquisition program that teaches out-of-school girls and other young women between the ages of 16 and 25 the skills needed to become young entrepreneurs.

At the beginning 2020, the 3-month-long preparatory program was teaching creative designing and entrepreneurship skills through its Technology and Entrepreneurship workshop training. However, toward the completion of the training, the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Lacking access to an in-person training space, the program was moved to a virtual environment where new participants joined and young women were able to learn and remain productive during a time when many were losing their jobs. This program continues to be effective at helping more out-of-school girls acquire relevant designing, entrepreneurial and leadership skills for their personal growth and in some cases, their pursuit of admission to tertiary institutions.

The Girls Creativity Hub Initiative
Girls Creativity Hub

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across the globe in helping empower those in need.