Help pave a path out of poverty by empowering the rural poor.
The Walking with Africans Foundation (WAF) seeks to alleviate poverty among the rural poor. We work in cooperation with our partner organization, Efforts of the Poor in Development (EPID-Kenya), a local Kenyan non-governmental organization (NGO). Together, we launched a successful pilot program in the rural town of Kibwezi in 2009. We began with 2 peer groups and 41 members, and have steadily grown in over eight years to mentor and support over 200 members!
We work to empower our peer group members to raise their living standards by establishing their own small business enterprises. Through microfinance (lending and financial management), WAF has been cultivating a culture of savings and financial independence in one of the poorest and semi-arid regions of Kenya.
The cornerstone of our mission is “harambe,” which in Swahili means “working together in unity” or “pulling together.” Our role goes beyond simple loan provision. By organizing participants into peer groups that draw on the strong bonds of African community life, WAF strives to promote collective action for meaningful community development.
Be part of our journey to help us transform lives today!
Timeline of our journey
The Walking with Africans Foundation was founded in 2007, though it would take us another two years to mobilize our team, join forces with our partner organization, EPID-Kenya, and begin raising funds for a pilot program launch in May 2009. WAF grew out of a longstanding partnership between Burke Presbyterian Church (BPC) in Virginia and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, Kibwezi Mission (Nendeni) Area. Serving as a Global Intern on behalf of BPC, James Munthali worked on various partnership projects in 2004 and the idea of a microfinance program grew out of discussions with members of the Kibwezi community.
Inspired by the many successful endeavors of this partnership – including strengthening preschool and primary education, supporting orphan care and a vocational training center – James found he could leverage his own background as a career economist to look into some ways of responding to the community’s growing interest in a savings and loan program, especially in the light of widespread poverty he had observed in the region. Immersed in Kibwezi life, he and his co-worker, Ed Parker (a key member of the WAF team who serves as a Program Development and Operations Director) participated in several thoughtful discussion about the aspirations and drive to implement viable solutions that were organic to the Kibwezi people, their culture and community. These discussions led to the concept of WAF and its guiding principle of cultivating self-sustaining initiatives, working with local community leaders and empowering the poor to improve and transform their own lives.
We look forward to the opportunity to expand our reach to other vulnerable communities across rural Africa.