by Aziza Isaack Godana

I practice girls to start out companies in Northern Kenya and discover new methods of incomes livelihoods. In recent times, Northern Kenya has been devastated by local weather change. We’ve skilled one of many worst droughts ever to hit the nation. The drought was adopted by extreme flooding. Favorable breeding circumstances had been liable for two swarms of locusts that moved at over eighty miles per hour and ravaged native grazing lands.

It’s honest to say that the ladies in my a part of the world know a factor or two about navigating excessive shocks just like the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve weathered one shock after one other. They’ve not solely survived. They’ve additionally advanced into leaders of their communities.

Just a few years in the past, most of the girls weren’t allowed to personal companies in our patriarchal communities. As we speak, over 40% of merchants at a livestock market are sometimes girls, lots of whom make use of males!

Ladies entrepreneurs buying and selling livestock at a market in Northern Kenya (Picture credit score: David DuChemin for The BOMA Venture)

What can these extremely resilient girls train us — regardless of the place we reside — about dealing with change? In my expertise, there are three issues which can be a will need to have for anybody navigating a profound shock:

1. Be versatile

Our girls entrepreneurs have a major enterprise. However additionally they have a backup plan. By diversifying companies, entrepreneurs be certain that their companies won’t be affected the identical approach by a single market occasion.

After her comfort retailer enterprise was impacted by COVID-19, Grace Naker Endnog began baking and promoting donuts to outlive the pandemic.

I had the pleasure of assembly Grace Naker Endnog not too long ago. Earlier than turning into a businesswoman, Grace was depending on menial labor like washing garments and burning charcoal for earnings. Cash was unpredictable. Her youngsters typically went to mattress hungry.

My group labored with Grace in establishing a comfort retailer. Enterprise was good and life was on the upswing. Grace was in a position to make greater than sufficient earnings to feed her youngsters with nutritious meals. She was in a position to ship them to the physician once they fell sick and pay for his or her college charges.

Nonetheless, COVID-19 struck. Grace started to see lowered foot site visitors at her retailer. Her earnings fell drastically.

What did Grace do?

She began baking donuts and delivering them to her clients. Any mother or father caught with youngsters at dwelling can testify to the facility of donuts in sustaining calm. With this pivot, Grace has managed to maintain her household afloat, ship her youngsters to highschool and hold them wholesome.

2. Make particular plans for the longer term

There’s a tune by John Lennon the place he says: Life is what occurs to you when you’re busy making different plans. There’s fact to that assertion. Our lives not often proceed within the instructions we’ve deliberate.

Nonetheless, it nonetheless helps to make plans all the identical.

The entire girls entrepreneurs I work with have a transparent set of aims. They need to lower your expenses to feed their youngsters and ship them to highschool. They need to put meals on the desk. They need to turn into homeowners of even bigger companies. When the occasions are robust, this imaginative and prescient of the longer term retains them going. The bear in mind why they began a enterprise. They keep targeted on the tip objective – which is constructing a greater future for themselves and their youngsters.


A transparent imaginative and prescient of their youngsters finding out in school motivates girls entrepreneurs to remain resilient.

How are you going to plan for the longer term at a sensible stage? Top-of-the-line issues you are able to do is put cash away in a financial savings account. The very act of saving forces you to consider the longer term in a constructive approach. The act of saving builds resilience.

3. Lean in your associates, colleagues and household

Ladies I mentor sometimes begin companies in teams of three. Ladies in Northern Kenya – as is the case for ladies all over the world—have many calls for on their time from working a enterprise to family work and taking good care of youngsters. Leaning on one another assist our girls entrepreneurs handle time higher. For instance, girls in a gaggle can take turns going to the market to purchase stock from wholesalers, which frees up time for private and household duties.

Group members additionally assist one another in occasions of want. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we see that ladies are additionally loaning cash to one another to assist them get via robust occasions.

Monetary capital is vital. However don’t low cost the worth of social capital. Your folks, households and colleagues at work may also help you get via the worst of occasions.

To see an individual faucet into their internal resilience and obtain their potential in occasions of disaster is a factor of pleasure. I hope you discover the following tips helpful as you join with your individual internal resilience and expertise this happiness for yourselves.

Aziza Isaack Godana is a resident of Northern Kenya and a Discipline Officer with The BOMA Project. The BOMA Venture works within the drylands of Africa to empower girls impacted by local weather change to start out new companies, construct a greater future for his or her youngsters, and evolve into revered leaders inside their communities.