As Managing Director Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT), Mwangi Githaiga oversaw the financial health of his part-time business that is dairy farming from a career height spanning two decades with the bank.
The father of eight children, four grand-children and counting, says the resolution to set up one of the biggest dairy farms and milk processing plants in Sagana, Kirinyaga County, was a challenging one, but a well-rewarding side hustle today.
Githaiga, who rose through the ranks at KWFT, commonly known as the Women’s bank, reveals how he took a deep breath and swapped corporate rural banking for an occupation now helping shape the future of dairy farming in that region.
“I look at my life and it’s quite interesting, since I can juggle between my family, KWFT and my side businesses. I am a farmer, I do dairy farming somewhere in Sagana. We are one of the biggest firms in Kirinyaga County, and we have about 120 animals.
We have also put up a processing plant,” he says. This isn’t to suggest Mwangi had a sudden urge to get up at 4am and milk cows. He didn’t and doesn’t. In fact he leaves the office after 5 pm.
But his recently-found source of revenue as proprietor of the dairy farm, 3,000 litres-of-milk production every day, means he is now up close and personal with the business, staff, infrastructure and dairy industry practices.
Githaiga says he was open to a new challenge and saw a long-term opportunity for setting up a side business in a growing market – expanding farming enterprises not big enough to be corporates, but sufficiently complex to require big business disciplines around finance and investment strategy, governance and management.
The business model, he says is also under review. With an eye to succession planning, Githaiga’s role will likely be expanded to operations management and with that in mind he has incorporated some of his children in daily running of the business.
He however, says that the decision to try his hands outside accountancy and banking careers he’d gone to university to study, was a risky concern to his consciousness but one that would not deter his subtle commitment at the bank.
He firmly confirms his long-term esteem, commitment and rich history with women bankers as their bank manager. “I understand women’s aspirations and I am committed to the bank in fulfilling their financial needs and I want to be part and parcel of KWFT’s growth,” he says.
He has previously served and worked for diverse Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), churches and the private sector in accountancy and financial sectors but like most of us, he had a rough time growing up.
“I grew up in the village, I didn’t have the advantage of growing up in town. I grew up struggling to pay school fees together with my siblings,” asserts the holder of a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in Strategic Management from Moi University who is also a Certified Public Accountant.