Embarking on a transformative journey to Africa with Microfinancing Partners in Africa (MPA), Mojeri Coker shares his profound experiences and insights. In this blog post, Mojeri reflects on his time in Kenya and Uganda, shedding light on the impact of microloans and the vital work Microfinancing Partners in Africa undertakes.
1. How was it? Mojeri describes the feeling of living two distinct lives—one abroad and one in the U.S. Despite the stark differences, the fulfillment derived from contributing to a cause that directly benefits people is evident. Returning to the U.S. felt more foreign than his initial journey to Africa.
2. Where did you go in Africa? A month-long expedition took Mojeri to various locations, from Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, to Kibera, Africa’s largest urban slum. The team traversed Uganda, covering vast territories from one border to another.
3. Who did you go with? Mojeri went with an organization called Microfinancing Partners in Africa (MPA). They does amazing work by helping people lift themselves out of poverty in a way designed to be self-sustaining. Microfinancing creates sustainable, accountable measurable impacts by helping people lift themselves out of poverty. It gives an opportunity for marginalized people to take the reins in their life they otherwise may not have had through fair, small loans. It’s amazing to see people who came from the streets or other uncontrollable situations which are seemingly insurmountable, now having their own homes.
4. What did you do there? Mojeri’s mission was to create videos for Microfinancing Partners in Africa’s marketing campaign, highlighting the organization’s five main programs. Focused on updating supporters and donors, Mojeri captures essential stories that unfold during Microfinancing Partners in Africa’s first trip back to Africa in three years.
5. How did you get involved? Mojeri made a documentary in Kenya called Pipe Dreams which tells the true story of Silvester Nzuki Mwami. A villager who embarked on a 20 year journey to save his village from a 50-year drought. That was a major turning point in my life and I wanted to continue making a positive impact through my abilities in storytelling. One of the partners I met at ARCO/Murray was intrigued to hear my story, and he instantly connected me to MPA, and the rest was history! He started helping them out with storytelling through video and media, then we later started the Water Program.
6. What was the best moment during the trip? Reuniting with Silvester, the protagonist of Mojeri’s documentary, after five years stands out as a highlight. Witnessing the launch of Microfinancing Partners in Africa’s Water Program and being part of projects that provide water to an orphanage in Kenya was an immensely rewarding experience.
7. What was the worst moment during the trip? Mojeri recounts a challenging day in Uganda, where unexpected hindrances caused significant delays. Despite the setbacks, he humorously reflects on the adventure, emphasizing the camaraderie built during the journey.
8. How can I get involved? You can reach out to MPA at their contact page on their website microfinancingafrica.org, and speak with the fantastic Lea Brinson who serves as the current Executive Director. She has a keen eye for knowing how to connect people to where they’d like to support the group.
9. What’s next? Mojeri is looking to adapt his documentary, Pipe Dreams, into a narrative film adaptation. I have a script prepared, and am ready to jump through all the hoops required to make it become a reality. While going through all the logistics, He’s excited to host more screening events and speaking engagements of the film in its current stage as a documentary, sharing the example of how people can make such large impacts in their communities. It has certainly been a huge blessing to see lots of progress being made, especially in person as he hadn’t been back in 5 years. It’s been an extremely humbling experience to say the very least, and he is eager to return. For my personal film endeavors, you can stay tuned at pipedreams.tv and signing up for my newsletter, and for MPA if you go on their website you can see the stories we told in our videos showing each of the programs. “All in all, it has been slightly daunting trying to take on such large issues with seemingly small capabilities, but after seeing the progress made, and the opportunity gap for others and myself, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that nothing and no one will get in the way of what we were put here on earth to do. My name is Mojeri which in Yoruba is short for MojeriayoOluwa, meaning “I testify to the Joy of the Lord”. I intend to live up to that name. Beyond heritage I believe that I, and everyone, no matter where you come from socioeconomically has a personal responsibility to do everything in our power to help others in need.“