Village meetings generally do not have huge attendances. In these meetings, there are those who hold strong views on particular issues. More often than not, there are those who don’t get a chance to be heard. Community conversation meetings provide platforms for everyone to express their views since it encourages inclusivity.
Mzee Adan Ali is an active community member from Manyata Willy in town. He has ensured that all his five children have completed school. When his village began these meetings in 2014, he faced some opposition when he insisted that all segments of the community be included in the meetings.
His village has different ethnic communities who live together and he was selected as a mobilizer of these meetings. Being a community facilitator, Mzee Adan did his best to ensure that everyone was united and working towards ensuring that they could discuss their challenges as one people. He, together with others, worked hard on this and eventually, the meetings became regular and successful.
During one meeting in 2016, he had this to say: “We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are united by the reality that all tribes and all cultures are distinct. We are united by the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We might not share some things, but we share the air that keeps us alive. We are all one people, united by everything we share.”
Mzee Adan’s village discussed the issues that face them at length and have been taking steps to address them together. So far, they have supported four vulnerable children, who would otherwise have dropped out, to remain in school. They have also sensitized community members on the importance of education and conducted a school enrolment campaign. They have also petitioned authorities on a seasonal flood that has been causing damage to property in the village. There are now plans to rectify this situation.
At a personal level, Mzee Adan says that he learnt how to save after hearing at a workshop how HODI’s saving scheme has been successful with other villages. He began saving on his own and after a while, he was able to construct his house. He now has a small kiosk in the village to generate income.
There are 405 community facilitators who are driving this change in villages in North Horr, Laisamis and Saku sub counties. Mzee Adan Ali is one of them. They are the heroes of their communities, who through mala mari, have been able to provide personal examples of what can be achieved when a community comes together.