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16 groups in Kisumu get Sh2.3million Uwezo Fund

Sixteen groups in Kisumu Central Sub County have benefited with Sh2.3 million from Uwezo Fund.

The Fund aims to support youths, women and persons with disabilities dealing in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to access finances to initiate and scale up their businesses.

Speaking during the cheque issuance exercise held on Friday, Kisumu Central Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Mr. Mose Langat lauded the groups that qualified for the funds and urged them to use the finances for the intended purpose.

The DCC noted that the funds, when utilized appropriately would create an impact on the lives of the beneficiaries and their dependents and urged the groups to commit to timely repayment of the credit so they can graduate for higher amounts.

He stressed that the national government was keen on youth empowerment programs and supporting the advancement of SMEs which forms an integral part of economic growth as well as job creation.

“The government is giving out a lot of money through various affirmative action funds to empower her people. We want these beneficiaries to act as our ambassadors and let the rest of the public know about these funds. A few groups here are being refinanced and can tell the people about government financing,” the DCC explained.

Laban Mwangi, representative from Uwezo Fund revealed that Kisumu Central Sub County recorded a recovery rate of 53 percent topping the list in all the Sub Counties in the Lakeside County.

He stated that three out of the sixteen groups were being refinanced and each received Sh.400, 000 while the other thirteen were new beneficiaries.

Mwangi noted that the Fund has increased its focus in Kisumu and the neighboring Counties owing to the region’s huge economic potential.

“We give loans to groups doing startups, and expansions for enterprises. The Fund has representatives from the Wards who form part of the committees and we are in the interest of bottom-up economic transformation as espoused by the National Government,” explained Mwangi.

He challenged the beneficiaries to capitalize on the seed capital awarded by the Uwezo Fund to expand their businesses and qualify for even bigger credit facilities from other financial institutions including Banks.

“Uwezo Fund issues interest-free loans of up to Sh.500,000 with flexible repayment plans. The Fund offers beneficiaries a lot of comfort, thus, we seek to provide seed capital to enable these groups to grow to qualify for more funding from the banks,” Mwangi said.

He added: “Today there are some groups that have done very well including the Lovely Sisters group. We are giving them money for the third time today. They started from Sh.50, 000 and have now graduated to Sh.400, 000.”

Nyanza Regional Youth Coordinator Mr. Joshua Kaluoch emphasized that the national government has rolled out various affirmative action funds to empower the youth, women and people with disabilities.

Kaluoch called on these groups to also utilize the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Women Enterprise Fund and National Affirmative Action Fund made available by the government to establish start-ups in agribusiness.

Further, he encouraged the youth to ensure they obtain skill-based training besides college and university education to boost their chances of earning a living in the wake of the high unemployment rate among young people.

Kaluoch lauded the Kenya Youth and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) for equipping youth with skills that they can use to secure employment, establish their own businesses and provide job opportunities.

The government, he revealed, has upscaled the KYEOP project to form the National Youth Opportunity Towards Advancement (NYOTA) to be rolled out at the Sub County level to enhance skill-based training uptake among the youth.

The beneficiaries commended the government for supporting them with interest-free loans and pleaded for the increase of the Funds’ limits.

According to Rakusi Women Group Chairlady Ms. Esther Oriema, dedication and handwork have enabled the group established in 1998 to succeed through loans.

On the other hand, Ms Rose Odhiambo, Chairlady of Lovely Sisters Group opines that discipline among the members has been key in the growth of their group for the last 30 years.

She said that their group which focuses on table banking has managed to acquire 10 sewing machines for members and has advanced from Sh.50,000 credit limit at the inception of the Uwezo Fund loans to Sh.400,000 currently.

By Feliciah Wanyonyi and Zipporah Akoth

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