Posted by MobileMovement.tv on 30 January 2013
The case of sunstar hotel
Kakamega town is a place in transition. Infrastructure development over the past few years has transformed the once backwater place to a thriving town, drawing in people from all corners of Kenya. Until recently, the town was home to a few middle level colleges. Now, the major universities are scrambling to open campuses - and Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST), is calling Kakamega its home.
These developments have breathed a new lease of life into the town and its residents. The number of young people operating bicycle taxis commonly called boda-boda is increasing by the day. And beneath the every day hustle and bustle of Kakamega, there is an emerging class of local entrepreneurs who are looking to diversify.
One such person is the amiable 42 yr old Mrs. Rebecca Wanyama, the proprietor of the Sunstar Hotel. A graduate of Agra University India in community development, she is a community organizer and leader, having helped found and ran a small local NGO called ‘Village Pillars Empowerment Project.’ “I have never known formal employment,” she says as she hands me the menu during our lunch hour meeting. “I have worked all my life with communities and it’s from that experience that I realized business holds the key to community development and livelihoods.”
Situated off the Kakamega- Webuye Road, next to Nakumatt Supermarket, Sunstar Hotel caters to a diverse clientele that includes university professors, students and boda boda taxi men. “Food business is good if you find a good location and credible suppliers,” Explains Mrs. Wanyama. “I am able to help the women my NGO was working in a better way since I source my supplies from them. This is more beneficial to the community since capital is retained here.”
This thinking seems to emerge from the realization that when communities are enabled to produce and access markets, even on a small scale, a whole lot of positive difference is made in their lives. This view is shared by Mrs Wanyama. “I feel more confident now that I can offer some one hope if the are wiling to work with me. That is why I think this Yes Youth Can! project is good for my business.”
By signing on the Mobile Movement Marketplace, Mrs. Wanyama hopes to secure grocery suppliers from around Kakamega and environs, and there seems to be plenty of youth ready to step in -- especially under the Yes Youth Can! initiative. Since most of the food consumed is imported from the neighboring counties, local production of food is a huge potential market. The Marketplace allows her to look for local youth suppliers of meat, fish, vegetables and honey – supported by youth marketers who have mobile phones that connect to the platform. Youth can realize their dreams and strive to learn like Mrs. Wanyama, who is set to defend her Masters thesis at MMUST University!