I have always believed in the power of microcredit to change lives. A visit to rabbit farmer George Kihanya’s home in the Kenya Rift Valley District convinced me beyond all doubt. Kihanya’s success shows that if well implemented, community-based credit and savings schemes can turn around the lives of many rural families.
In 2002, Kihanya was caring for his ailing mother. Newly married, he eked out a living growing maize, beans and potatoes.
Kihanya’s fortunes changed after he started keeping rabbits. Now, he earns on average Sh60,000 (US$650) a month.
Kihanya was introduced to rabbit farming during a course organized by the Catholic Relief Services, one of the partners in the APHIAPlus program led by FHI.
Kihanya was chosen by his local church to be trained as a community health worker. He, along with other volunteers, was trained on how to prevent diseases, including HIV, and to link vulnerable children and families to HIV treatment, care and support. Volunteers also learned about farming and other activities, including rabbit farming, to improve food security for their families and communities.
Inspired by Kihanya’s success, scores of families in the community are now earning money by raising rabbits.