Inagural Day at the Office

8 Aug

I’ve completed my first day working in Maono’s office. It is located conveniently close to my guest house – the walk is only 5-10 minutes! Too bad I won’t be staying in the guest house permanently. Here’s a picture of the office building itself and the inside (that’s my desk with the red backpack!)

The CEO, Daisy, is out of town all week, so today was less of a “we-have-things-to-accomplish” business day and more of a day set up to welcome me to the Maono team. And welcome me they did.

Part of the Maono staff, From left to right – Tracey, Betty, Philemon, Me, Simon

First, all of us took turns sharing the highlights of the previous week. This took 30-45min for 5 people to share and it was quite enjoyable. After that, one of the interns was chosen to be the “preacher” for the week. The preaching and praying afterwards took about an hour. I was put off by this and began itching for an introduction to Maono’s microfinancial endeavors – spiritual thinking is essential to life, but starving children don’t get fed through well wishes! Finally, I got it – each of the interns gave their story/explanation of Maono’s vision and mission, complete with posterboards.

Maono’s vision is a world without slums and their mission is to empower the poor in villages close to Nairobi. They want to stop the movement of the poor from these villages into Nairobi in search of money. As the slums grow in population, there are fewer job opportunities available in the city.  According to Maono, a villager is better off staying in their village than making the big move to Nairobi.

Maono views poverty as a tree that must have its roots uprooted for eradication instead of the branches cut off. Among the problems caused by poverty are dependency, joblessness, illiteracy, drug abuse, hunger, laziness, bitterness, prostitution, and helplessness. Maono argues that many NGOs today alleviate the problems through aid, but that the problems will always “grow” back.

Maono, now four years old, provides access to funds through their “village bank” concept.  I have explained this before in my blog – the main difference between a village bank and a commercial bank is that at the end of the year, a village bank distributes profit back to the borrowers through increased loan size. This is something even microfinance banks don’t do. Together, the community can grow through adopting a “village bank” concept.

The work environment so far is very relaxed – maybe because the CEO is out of town. Until tomorrow!


2 Responses to “Inagural Day at the Office”

  1. Jane Borowski August 10, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    Ben you have an office…with a window!! Congratulations! We miss you at the Village…lots of new orders in. I’ve been learning Order Center!! HAHAHA!! I really like your blog, what a great way to keep in touch! Keep posting all the nice pics. TTYL!

    • Ben August 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

      An office above ground – imagine that! Good luck with Order Centre, it’s a beast that when controlled and managed can do wonderful things! Don’t know if Lynn mentioned it to you, but I am installing and setting up a Quickbooks company file for Maono! I thought I had seen my last Quickbooks screen after leaving GVC! Maybe I’ll become a QB pro advisor some day haha. Thanks for following my blog!

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