In the heart of Ratna village, nestled within the vibrant Kongowea ward in Nyali sub-county, Mombasa County, a remarkable transformation is unfolding through the efforts of Umoja Self Help Group. At the center of this narrative is Benta Auma, a passionate advocate for economic empowerment and good governance, whose journey reflects the transformative power of civic education.


Before the advent of Kwacha Afrika’s Civic education training under the Tuyazungumuze Community Initiative supported by Uraia Trust through the funding of the Danish International Development Agency ( DANIDA ) , Benta and her group were navigating a landscape marred by economic challenges and a lack of awareness about their civic rights. The group, comprising mainly young men, faced hurdles in accessing meaningful employment opportunities and had limited understanding of their roles in fostering good governance within their community.


Then came the intervention of Kwacha Afrika’s civic educator, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge on critical topics such as the Bill of Rights, citizen participation, the significance of devolution, and constitutionalism. For Benta and her peers, this was not just an educational program; it was a beacon of hope, an opportunity to learn, grow, and, most importantly, effect positive change in their community.


Benta shares, “Before the civic education sessions, we were like seeds struggling in barren soil. We lacked the knowledge to advocate for ourselves, and our potential for community impact was untapped. The sessions opened our eyes to the power we hold as citizens and the tools we need to create meaningful change.”

The civic education training acted as a catalyst, empowering Benta and her group to envision a brighter future for Ratna village and beyond. The sessions, rooted in budget-making processes, constitutionalism, and the essence of citizen participation, sparked a new sense of purpose among the group members.


Benta highlights the transformative impact on her life, stating, “I never fully understood the importance of participating in civic activities. Now, I see myself not just as a member of Umoja Self Help Group but as a guardian of our community’s well-being. Civic education has given me a sense of responsibility and a voice that resonates beyond my immediate surroundings.”


One of the most notable outcomes of the civic education initiative was the group’s newfound ability to undertake civic actions and initiatives within their community. Empowered with knowledge, they embarked on a mission to address pressing issues, including insecurity, the construction of feeder roads, and matters related to land rights and ownership within the ward.


Benta narrates the group’s journey, “We became champions of change in our own right. From organizing community dialogues to engaging with local authorities, we took substantial steps towards making our vision a reality. We advocated for better security measures, lobbied for the construction of feeder roads, and addressed land rights issues that had long been a source of contention.”


However, as with any journey towards positive change, challenges emerged. Benta reflects on the hurdles faced by Umoja Self Help Group, “The challenges were real, and sometimes, they felt insurmountable. From bureaucratic roadblocks to resistance from those accustomed to the status quo, we encountered setbacks that tested our resolve.”


Yet, resilience became the group’s defining trait. Benta and her peers, armed with newfound knowledge and a shared commitment to community welfare, strategized on overcoming these challenges. Through continuous engagement with community members, local authorities, and leveraging the networks fostered during the civic education sessions, they navigated the complexities of initiating change.


Central to the success of Umoja Self Help Group was the cultivation of unity among its members. Civic education became the common thread that wove them into a tight-knit community of advocates. Benta emphasizes, “Civic education transformed us not just as individuals but as a collective force. It instilled a sense of unity, a shared purpose that went beyond personal interests. We became a family bound by a commitment to uplifting our community.”


Looking ahead, Benta envisions a future where the seeds of civic education blossom into sustained benefits for both her group and the broader community. She believes that the long-term impact will be evident in the informed decisions made by community members, the sustainable initiatives undertaken, and the emergence of a generation deeply invested in the welfare of Ratna village.


She concludes, “Our journey doesn’t end with us. The real triumph will be when the knowledge we’ve gained permeates every corner of our community. We’re sowing seeds of change that will yield a harvest of empowered individuals, engaged citizens, and a community that thrives. That’s the legacy we aspire to leave.”