'Yogurt Mamas' is a local term of respect and affection for the women who operate probiotic yogurt kitchens in their communities. These women are the cornerstones of the Western Heads East (WHE) program in that they run the grassroots community kitchens that make the project viable in East Africa.
Yogurt kitchens have empowered Yogurt Mamas to foster change in their communities by helping them to contribute to the health of their communities and draw an income for their families whilst stimulating significant economic development. Through their dedication and hard work, yogurt kitchens have become an integral part of the community life wherein they also act as hubs of health information in the community. Yogurt Mama
Currently, there are more than 230 social enterprises serving over 160000 people in East Africa.
Please meet some of our earliest Yogurt Mamas:
- Name: Asha Mohamed
Current Position at Yogurt Kitchen: HIV/AIDS Spokesperson, General Duties
workI spend a lot of time with my family and I study English so that I can learn to speak it. Before my involvement with TukwamuaneI had a small business where I sold clothes. I also sold fish at the market sometimes to make extra money. Later I worked in a Hotel. Now I work at the Jiko La Jamii (Community Kitchen) and I am able to learn many things. I have been able to study business practices, produce probiotic yogurt, and to work with the community. I am a representative that assists in preventing and reducing discrimination against people who are sick with HIV/AIDS, or people who are different in any way.
This project has been very beneficial to me and my family. The yogurt has improved the health of my family. We are all fit, healthy and strong now that we consume the
yogurt. The project has also assisted me by bringing in an income for me and my family. I am happy to work in a workplace without discrimination. I am very happy to work with people from all over the world. I am allowed to express my opinion and ideas and make decisions. I am happy to have a permanent, stable job.
This project, it has brought for me many good things. I am thankful to God for all of this. I am happy to help the health of the community while also helping my family.
- Name: Cecilia John
Current Position at Yogurt Kitchen: Secretary, Bookkeeper, General Duties
Outside of work I spend a lot of time with my family. I am trying to make sure that all of my children go to school and get an education. I also help
councilother people who are living with HIV/AIDS in the community. Before the yogurt projectI sold herbal remedies to people and helped councilpeople living with HIV. I also helped the children of Y.W.K.M. H. with their small business and acted as a mentor. I studied business practices through Kivulini. I also learned about diaryproduction. I also motivated people in the community gave them legal advice thoughKivulini.
Now I help with processing the yogurt and I help with any activities around the kitchen. I schedule all of the project activities and jobs. I write notes and take care of project records. I also help prepare meetings for the group. This project allows me to get to know people from other cultures as well as people in the community. I also get to help make better the health of the community especially people living with HIV/AIDS like myself. I am thankful to be able to help improve the health and well-being of my family.
I am also able to raise the income of my family a little. This income has helped me pay for school for some of my children and help expand my home so that we can all live there. I am very happy to be working at the Jiko La
Jamii. I am happy to be helping other people like me who have HIV/AIDS. People who have HIV/AIDS should not be ashamed. They are people just like anybody else. This project is so good for the health of all people, especially people living with HIV/AIDS. This project is good for me, for my family and for the community.
- Name: Elizabeth Gabriel Budeba
Current Position at Yogurt Kitchen: Accounts, Finance, General Duties
Outside of work I usually do chores and cook for my family and spend time with them. I used to sell
degaa(small fish) and tomatoes at the market near my home before I worked with Tukwamuane.
Now I am working with the Jiko La Jamii (Community Kitchen) Yogurt project in Mabatini. I help produce and distribute the yogurt and I am also keeping track of all accounts, sales of the yogurt and expenses of the project. We use these records for our business and our
recordkeepingto send back to Canada.
I am happy to be involved in this project because I am able to gain skills and lots of experience. I also get to help my family and others in the community. I like that I am able to share my ideas and thoughts and that we can make the decisions for our business. I am very happy with the project and I never want to stop working here!
- Name: Hawa Rajabu
Current Position at Yogurt Kitchen: General Duties
Outside of work I spend a lot of time with my family. I do many chores. Originally I Came to Mwanza to open a small business but was not very successful. I went to Kivulini so that they could help me move forward with starting a good business so that I could support my family. They provided me with some business training. Kivulini, together with Western Heads East started the probiotic yogurt project and provided me with the opportunity to get involved.
This project, this job at the Jiko La Jamii (Community Kitchen) has allowed me to help my family. We can all be healthy because we eat the yogurt and I make a small amount of money to buy clothes and notebooks for my children to go to school. The students from Canada are great because they help us with project ideas to expand our business. I am able to gain skills and to make a better life for my family through the probiotic yogurt project.
I am very thankful that I am able to gain skills and experience and to be able to work with so many people.
- Name: Leah Mpangala
Current Position at Yogurt Kitchen: Human Resources (Dispute Mitigation) and General Duties
In my spare
timeI often cook. I also like to sing. Before working with Tukwamuane I ran a small business selling maize and degaa(small fish).
Now I produce probiotic yogurt for the Jiko La Jamii (community kitchen) with the Tukwamuane group. I am happy to be apart of a group with a purpose. I assist with project procedures and monitor behaviour within the kitchen to make sure that everyone respects one another. I make sure that the peace is kept in our place of work. I also make sure that the Tukwamuane members follow the correct procedures when they go on vacation, holiday or leave. I make sure that everyone is treated fairly and that we all respect one another. I assist with any disputes, arguments or disagreements that arise within the workplace.
I like that this project provides me with skills, experience and knowledge. I have learned so much about running a business and now I am learning to take care of the cows. I am also happy to meet so many different people through this project. I have gotten to know so many people from within this community as well as from other far away places like Canada. This project has allowed me to make a better life for my family by keeping us healthy from eating the yogurt and by providing an income.
In general, I am very happy with the project here I really like how it helps make people's health better and the community especially for people living with HIV/AIDS. In my
areathere are many sick people and I am happy to help them by providing a health service to them.
- Name: Leah Juma
Current Position at Yogurt Kitchen: General Duties
Outside of work I am very busy caring for my family. I do a lot of chores and cooking. I also like to sing. I sing at work as well! I came to Mwanza in 1997 to try to start a small business. I could not find work so I went to Kivulini and they helped me study business. Later, Kivulini partnered me with Western Heads East to start to produce probiotic
Later, I was able to make probiotic yogurt for my family and make a little bit of money. Right now I am making enough money to send my kids to school and to buy them notebooks. The Students from Canada have exchanged many ideas with us and have given us project ideas and skills to help my family and the yogurt project. I am very blessed to get to be apart of the yogurt project. I am very happy working here!
- Name: Mama Sabina Josephy
Current Position at Yogurt Kitchen: Kitchen Supervisor, General Duties.
I spend a lot of time doing chores and cooking. I like to spend time with my family. Before I worked with Tukwamuane I sold fish (tilapia) to send to the market place in a nearby village. Now I work at the Jiko La
Jamiiand I produce probiotic yogurt. I am helping with all aspects of this project. I am also the kitchen supervisor so I make sure that all tasks are being carried out by the group.
I am happy to be learning so much from working with Tukwamuane. I have acquired so many skills and I get to get lots of experience in
business. This yogurt project/ business is so good for the health of my family and the community, everyone benefits. I feel good because everydayI can express my ideas and thoughts and we get to make choices and decisions to run our own yogurt business.
experienceshas allowed me to be open to other cultures and to meet many people. Since I make a small income from the project, it helps me and my family economically. I do not like to sit around and do nothing, this project gives me lots of things to do and lots of things to learn. I am very happy to be involved with this project!
- Name: Benta Akinyi
I enjoy carrying out my household duties. I sell avocadoes in the marketplace. I got involved with the kitchen because I wanted to improve my school of thought on social issues. This project is important because it improves the quality of life for anyone who consumes the yogurt.
- Name: Conslata Aketch
I love farming. I am a businesswoman. I sell tomatoes at the marketplace. I joined the kitchen because I felt that there is a collective responsibility on part of the women to improve the lives of others. This project is important because of its mandate to help the sick and how it will empower the Mamas.
- Name: Diana Akinyi
I enjoy knitting. I am a homemaker, secretary to the Orande Women's Group, and a production assistant at the kitchen. I joined the kitchen to ease the burden of difficulties in my life. I am eagerly looking forward to working with the Mamas and improving the quality of life of the many vulnerable social groups.
- Name: Edwina Akinyi
I enjoy farming vegetables. I am a seamstress. I decided to get involved because the kitchen gave me an opportunity to selfempower myself. My goal is to alleviate the suffering of those who are vulnerable. This project is important because God has provided us with this opportunity to do well by helping others thus gracing all of us with His blessings.
- Name: Eunice Adhiambo
I enjoy farming. I am a businesswoman who sells fish in the marketplace. I joined the kitchen on the premise of selfempowerment and the opportunities it has provided me with for helping my family with the income I will generate. I find this project important because it uses milk as a medium for delivering rich and essential nutrients that makes one feel great and healthy after consuming it.
- Name: Helen Aniyango
I find farming very interesting. I am a maize farmer. I joined the kitchen because I saw it as an opportunity to empower myself, raise a little income for my family, while building strong relationships with the other Mamas. This project is important because its mission is to improve the health of people through the study and other aspects of the business.
- Name: Jeniffer Onyasi
I love children, farming and I also like attending to household chores. I am a farmer and a production assistant at the kitchen. I decided to get involved because I realized that for the business to be successful more women like myself will need to be involved to also make a positive impact on our community. This project is important because it allows me to empower myself while making a good impact on the lives of orphaned children.
- Name: Rosemary Adhiambo
I enjoy cooking and farming. I am a seamstress. I decided to get involved because I wanted to diversify my thinking and educate myself more on social issues that are prevalent in my community. This project is important because it allows women like us to work together to improve the lives of those who are vulnerable.
- Name: Terezia Aluoch
I love farming. I am a farmer. I joined the kitchen because it represents another family for me as I am close to the Mamas and appreciate the companionship we provide each other with. I find the probiotic yogurt's positive impact on people's health the most important part of the project.
Learn more about the WHE program and some of our amazing Mamas by visiting Become an Intern!