Ogunte: How is your eagerness to be involved as a social entrepreneur stem from what happened in your early years?
Phionah Musumba: My passion for social entrepreneurship is borne of very harsh real life experiences. I do what I do for women and girls because I have lived the life that many of them live. I dropped out of high school due to a lack of school fees occasioned by acute poverty. I braced the elements with my three children aged between 4 months and 10 years because we couldn't afford shelter. I fed my kids soft construction site stones because I couldn't afford food. I watched my son die because I couldn't afford medical attention to save his life. My aim is to see a Vihiga County where women can afford the basic needs to survive; education, shelter, food and health care. This is the genesis of my work.
Ogunte: What do you know now that you wished you had known from the beginning?
Phionah Musumba: I wish I had known the joy of being a social entrepreneur, as opposed to just being a sponsor for women and girls, without the funds to work with. This is because it is easier to empower 1000 women and girls through social entrepreneurship than it is to sponsor 10 through school and vocational training.
O: What questions do your clients never ask you, you wished they did?
Phionah Musumba: The question I always wish for is:
WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU/HOW DO I COME ON BOARD?
O: What ideal conversation would you rather have with an investor?
Phionah Musumba: A conversation around the investor supporting our work in a way that works for our community, by our community, without conditions beyond and above financial statements of accountability. Simply put, investing in programs/projects that are viable in the community. This is because what works in one area might not work in another one as each has its own characteristics and needs.
O: If you were not doing what you are doing now, what other business or activity would you be contributing to…?
Phionah Musumba: I wouldn't know as I believe in my deepest of hearts that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. On hindsight, maybe I would have been a reporter as I have a Diploma in Mass Communication.
O: How does your world look like in 2030?
Phionah Musumba: In 2030, women worldwide will be significantly empowered to meet all their needs without a begging bowl in their hands.