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Groups in West Pokot receive Uwezo Funds

A total of Sh2.2 million has been disbursed to 19 women, youth and People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) among them eight new groups under the fourth phase of Uwezo Fund in Pokot South Constituency.

Speaking during the issuance of cheques to the beneficiaries at Chepareria in Kipkomo Sub County on Wednesday, Uwezo Fund Oversight Board Director Nicholas Tepeso called on residents to form groups so that they benefit from the kitty that has seen many Kenyans from other regions empower themselves through businesses.

Tepeso said the government was ready to lend women, youth and PLWD once they form groups so as to enable them to improve their livelihoods and reduce the poverty levels of the constituency which stands at about 69 per cent.

He called on the beneficiaries from the 19 groups and others that were left out in the phase to inculcate good financial skills to boost their repayment rate which is very low at 18 per cent.

“This is a revolving fund hence should be repaid in time so as to increase your loan limits and together with enabling more people to benefit from the kitty in the region. You should use the loans to invest into profitable business ventures instead of using it for luxury as some people have done before,” advised the board director.

He singled out the hospitality industry as one of the potential areas that the beneficiaries can venture into the region is still underdeveloped adding that there are also opportunities for commercial farming.

“This area lacks sufficient accommodation and conference facilities thus making visitors touring the area to seek such services elsewhere. We should not shy away from the culture of taking loans since this fund is given at interest free,” he added.

Women, youth and PLWDs who received Uwezo Fund cheques at Chepareria Full Gospel Church in Pokot South Constituency on Wednesday April 28, 2021.Photo by Richard Muhambe

Area youth Officer Sammy Simiyu said an accrued total of Sh22,572,000 has been disbursed so far to over 200 groups although only 18.58 per cent of the amount has been recovered attributing the low repayment rate to Covid-19 pandemic which he said had led to collapse of some businesses by the beneficiaries among other challenges.

Simiyu noted that initially there was misinformation from past political administrations that the loan was a form of grant where some beneficiaries would evade paying but now the situation has changed following intensive training.

According to the beneficiaries, the Uwezo Fund has seen increased agricultural and economic activities among women, youth and PLWDs within the region hence improved family stability.

They hailed the area Member of Parliament David Pkosing for what they said was participatory leadership citing establishment of road infrastructure that has opened remote parts within the constituency.

By Richard Muhambe

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