Lessons from an African Micro-Businessman–Martin Simiyu [FF56]

Martin Simiyu

For this episode I had the unique priviledge of interviewing Martin Simiyu a missionary/leader/businessman and the founder of Possibilities Africa.   I discovered this remarkable yet humble man at an intimate dinner with friends where we all learned about his personal story and work in Africa. Martin grew up in a small village of Namawanga in Kenya, Africa. Until his early twenties, he thought the world looked like his small village and everyone lived as he did. Martin’s family lived in a mud home that got soaked when it rained. When water flooded the dirt floor that he and his 10 siblings slept on they would have to stand, sometimes until morning, to get out of the water and away from the snakes.

You might be wondering what in the world does this have to do with a therapy practice. I was fascinated by his rise from extreme poverty to establishing a ministry model to transform poor villiages in Africa, one leader at a time. Possibilities Africa focuses on recruiting community leaders, productivity, and the multiplication of capital through miro-loans within a supportive community.

You will learn the essential truths about business and community transformation right along with me as you hear Martin share what he has successfully field tested for the last 10 years in Africa. The principles he teaches about life transformation and micro-business will challenge your assumptions about business and personal success. You won’t be the same after you listen to him.  Martin’s family struggled for food, clothing, shelter and access to education. As a young boy his father was murdered in front of his mother by the tribal leaders of his viliiage. His mother remained steadfast and led her family through difficult circumstances while depending on faith, hard work and love.

Martin left his small viliage to go to college in Nairobi and eventually made his way to the U.S. where he worked to earn two master’s degrees. Rather than staying in America, he chose to return to the small villiages in Kenya to help the people of Africa. Why did he go back?

“I realized the need to count my blessings, but also my need to equally count my responsibilities…God has a purpose and a plan for [the people of Africa]. If only they could realize their purpose for life, they would live for that purpose.”

Martin saw the importance of not only meeting a person’s physical needs but helping them holistically. He formed Possibilities Africa as an organization that helps meet people’s physical, social, spiritual and economical needs. We can learn from them about the importance of training leaders within your organization and enhancing the self-dignity of your patients and staff through micro acts of empowerment that they then can share with others.

“My people are so lost in all their many needs that to pick just one to help them with, really will not help them at all.”

Through leadership development, accountability, hard work and a tight supportive community, they help people form small businesses where they are taught to work and manage with ethics and morals rather than waiting for the next handout.

In this episode, here’s what we cover:

  • Martin’s journey form a poor Kenyan village to the United States then back to Africa
  • The importance of faith and fresh thinking to break free from a poverty mindest to a new reality
  • How leadership is an essential factor in transforming communities
  • Poverty is not so much a lack of resources but a lack of productivity
  • The chilling effect of the “handout mentality” on productivity
  • The importance of group support in transforming lives and communities
  • How to build capital for your business on a dollar a day

Resources:

Action Steps to Take:

  • Send your donation to Possibilities Africa to help Martin and his staff impact the lives of the African people
  • Look for and identify a community leader that you can wholistically invest your life into
  • Make a micro-loan of capital into someone else’s life and encourage them to pay it forward

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