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    Learning more about the Asili community

    Day 299

    Knowledge is Power

    For the past few days, we’ve learned that a simple test – just getting out there and trying something new – can do wonders. Prototypes help kick start new ideas. They build energy, they allow for iteration. And most of all, they help us learn what the people we serve want and need – what works and what doesn’t.

    The Asili team knows that one of the things people want is increased financial services. There aren’t many reliable banks, or banks that are easily accessible in rural areas. People don’t have great ways to save. But, the team wanted to learn more. What types of financial education or services would suit them best? What are some of the creative ways that people save?

    So on Day 299, Team Asili and our visiting friends from Minnesota set out to speak face-to-face with families living in the areas Asili serves. The goal? Learn as much as we can today, so that we can design something new tomorrow.

    The team split into groups and set out on foot. They climbed the hills of Mudaka, Asili’s third location, and knocked on doors. They introduced themselves, asked if families had some time to talk. They were greeted by friendly smiles and people eager to share their story.

    “My main expenses are food and school uniforms, and I don’t have much left over to save,” said one mother as we sat in her living room. But, she added, “I would love to start my own shop if I had enough capital.”

    One father, with a giggling baby in his lap, described how what they really needed was vocational training in the community. “I want to learn a trade. I want my sons to learn a trade,” he said, with clear affection toward his children gathered around. “But we don’t have anywhere to go to learn.”

    A farmer told us that he keeps all his savings through his livestock – cows, sheep, and chickens. “But if something happens to them,” he said, “I have a problem.”

    It only took a few hours to spend time with these families. But those hours were precious. The team got a glimpse into their lives – their financial challenges, their hopes. And the things we learned will last well beyond this one, doable day. They just might inspire us to come up with new ideas and better ways to help them build a brighter future.

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