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From CAN’T to CAN: The Case of Walter Lusi

By Phelix Ouma

Kobita Village – Ndhiwa, Kenya – It’s mid-morning and Walter Lusi, a dedicated 33 year old beneficiary of Riana Development Network’s (RDN) program; Creating Decent Employment Opportunities (CREDEEP), prepares to leave his home to go look for weeds to feed his goats, bought few months ago. Lusi starts the day by feeding his chicken, clearing chicken pen, and later taking his goats out to feed on the uncultivated farms. Just slightly over two years ago, lusi was recruited into the CREDEEP project as a beneficiary. He received seven chicks in August of the year 2018, through hard work, his chicken grew in numbers. In 8 months’ time, he had over 20 older chicken that could each fetch up to Kshs. 500/= or more.  “I sold my chicken at Kshs. 7,400/= I used the money to buy a calf, later I sold the calf at Kshs. 18,000/= and the money helped me in constructing an iron-roofed house for my wife and children” Said Lusi. His calf had grown into a charming ox attracting the attention of different tillers within the village fetching enough money to completely change from his grass-thatched house to a semi-permanent one.

He has devoted his time to success of the program initiatives, making new friends and deepening relationships with implementing team, program beneficiaries and other stakeholders. In his role as a mobilizer, he has used the events and gatherings to network and identify how they can best complement each other, this social capital has strengthened collaboration and bonding. Lusi’s role as programme mobilizer has been immensely fungible, complementing the efforts of program team with his experience and challenges. He has been instrumental in offering support to other beneficiaries beyond programming hours on animal infections, crop faming, home-made feeds and market linkages. “I’ve never had a chance like this, before I used to do odd jobs for small monies to help my family but now we have eggs, kitchen garden, goats and cash crops to support family needs and educating my children. I am very grateful to Riana.” LusI added.

Lusi is the first born of Mama Masliana Anyango Lusi, 63 years old and a wife to 94 years old Lusi Amala. Walter Lusi didn’t have the privilege of higher education and had to support his aging parents and other siblings through odd jobs within the village and beyond. Here, families suffer from several challenges including high unemployment rates and marginalization.

In the CREDEEP targeted sub-county of Dhiwa, young men in Lusi’s age group are equally vulnerable in the community, often faced with a myriad of challenges like poverty, lack of proper education, unemployment, negative influence, political exploitation, lack of economic opportunities and access to assets and financial services. RDN’s objective is to empower them financially, helping them navigate through challenging social and economic realities.

“Lusi has surpassed our expectations; he does not wait for directions on how to grow and expand his initiatives. He has also been of great help with mobilization and follow up” Said George – CREDEEP Program Manager. Since the program started Lusi has seen his poultry stock grow beyond 80 chicken whereas he has sold off over 50 of them to reinvest into chicken feeds for sale, vegetable and home-made manure. He has also benefitted from veterinary training, specifically bird control and treatment. Lusi wants to join the basic computer literacy and numeracy classes to learn better agricultural practices and marketing opportunities.

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