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Legislator wants youth to utilize empowerment funds

About 26 groups from Nambale constituency benefited from Sh2.1 million Uwezo Fund to empower them with the aim of initiating income generating projects that will create employment and reduce poverty index in the county.

Speaking at the Nambale Sub-county headquarters offices after the disbursement of the funds, Geoffrey Mulanya lauded the national government for establishing the kitty.

The lawmaker further said that, time for politics is over and everyone must focus on development. He urged women and youth to borrow from the various government empowerment funds as they are at zero interest rate.

“Do not fear to take loans to do business. Loans will prompt you to work hard to repay and ensure the business thrives. Almost all successful people have obtained loans in one way or the other,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Busia Woman Rep Catherine Omanyo who said that the government should focus on empowering youth, women and disabled as a bid to reduce the rate of unemployment.

Omanyo added that she will create programmes that support youth and women empowerment. She urged leaders in the county to create awareness on how other groups can access money from Uwezo Fund, Youth Enterprise Fund as well as Women Enterprise Funds to improve their socio-economic wellbeing.

She challenged the beneficiaries to have a daring spirit and  grab the Uwezo Fund as it is a soft loan that does not attract any interest and the groups are given a duration of two years to repay the same amount.

Nambale Division ACC Esther Sawe noted that, more than 6,154 people have benefited from over Sh.29 million worth of Uwezo Funds from the Nambale NG/CDF for the last seven years.

ACC Sawe urged the youth and Women to form groups, borrow money and engage in business in order to achieve the sustainable development goals. He added that this will address the global challenges we face such as poverty, inequality and justice among others.

Sawe added that the administration will provide education and mentorship on government funds to boost the uptake and foster development through empowerment programs.

“The security of an area depends on how occupied people are. At Nambale we will try to ensure everyone is engaged either at personal level or group to minimize criminal activities brought about as a result of idleness,” she noted.

Uwezo Fund is a flagship programme for vision 2030 aimed at enabling women, youth and persons with disabilities access finances to promote businesses and enterprises at the constituency level, thereby enhancing economic growth towards the realization of the same and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Lucy Njogu, a beneficiary, said the fund has been of great help and said more money should be pumped into the kitty to ensure more groups are brought on board.

Musokoto Bebabeba group shared a testimony of how the funds have been of great importance in shaping lives. The group which was established in 2016 by Bodaboda operators in Bukhayo North/Walasti has seen it grow its Uwezo fund scale from Sh.100, 000 to Sh.400, 000 within three years.

Opwakero Titus, group chair, alluded financial discipline to their success. “We as Musokoto Bebabeba we operate on the financial discipline structure. We always get a business idea before we go for the fund,” he noted.

Through the Uwezo Fund, the group has three acres of sugarcane plantation ready for harvest, 4 motorbikes, 2 tents for hire and outside catering services which has employed more youths in the area.

The group now targets to purchase a Nissan for transport from the Sh.400,000 received from Uwezo fund in addition to their savings.

The story was not different from Tujigege Makale Women group who have also invested in Agriculture, table banking and wholesale of Omena which has seen them grow from Sh 50,000 to over kshs.300,000.

Electine Juma Olengo the chairperson of Tujigege Makale Women group, urged the government to increase the allocation, she added that the fund has been of great help and said more money should be pumped into the kitty to ensure more groups are brought on board

“These funds are still not enough despite the positive impacts on beneficiaries. The number of groups has increased and I hope that the government increases the fund to benefit more people,” she said.

By Absalom Namwalo

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