Government rolls out Ksh24.4B to support women
The government has rolled out a Ksh24.4 billion revolving fund to support small and micro enterprises (SMEs) for women, youth and people living with disabilities
Speaking during World Widows Day held in Siaya town, Women Enterprise Fund chairman Njoki Kahiga stated that the funds have expanded businesses for over 2 million women since its launch in 2008.
“We have interacted with more than 2 million women doing businesses in the entire country for the past 15 years and more than 2 million WEF has indeed created a positive impact on those women,” Kahiga stated.
She added that the funds have not only boosted their development projects but also improved their livelihoods.
In addition to that, the fund has offered financial relief to the community with limited or no access to loans from formal financial institutions.
To ensure the growth and sustainability of the fund, they have trained the beneficiaries to ensure accountability. The beneficiaries have been repaying their loans to qualify for additional loans from the fund.
Commissioner Kahiga also asked women to embrace soft loans from the Thamini fund project that was recently launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
She noted that the Thamini product is interest-free because administrative costs would not be deducted adding that the product aims at revitalizing widows’ economic enterprises.
“The government had launched the mini Fund product that offers resources to widows facing financial stress,” Kahiga added.
Government to launch mama car health scheme
The groups are eligible for loans from Ksh100,000 to Ksh1million.
Kahiga further stated that the government was set to launch Mama care -a health product that would be a scheme meant to cover windows and other vulnerable persons in the Society.
She disclosed that the idea to start a mama care health scheme rose in 2021 after women raised healthcare challenges they have encountered in the past years.
“We have established that revolving fund alone cannot sustain our women for they have lots of socio-economic stresses. That's why we are soon launching a mama care health scheme that will help cover widows,” Kahiga lamented.
The event was also attended by Director Rhona Foundation Roseline Orwa who appealed to Member of Parliament (MPs) and the County assembly to adopt the widows charter policy to safeguard the interests and protection of women.
“Women has faced lots of societal challenges including land issues, GBV, and its enactment of the policy into law that would see issues of the widows get addressed effectively,” Orwa stated.
She revealed that they drafted the policy after widows and vulnerable women in the society gave their input.
Senator Orengo pledges to follow the government's suit
Orwa’s policy proposal was welcomed by Siaya Senator James Orengo, Alego/Usonga MP Samwel Atandi, Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo and County MP Dr Christine Ombaka who vowed to prioritise the women charter policy at the assembly and parliament once the sittings resume.
Orengo said once he takes the Siaya leadership mantle, he shall push for the enactment of the policy at the Siaya County assembly and he expects Atandi and Otiende to lobby colleagues to endorse and enact it at the Parliamentary chambers.
The legislators were also feted with certificates for being defenders of women's rights in society.