The government through its Women Enterprise Fund, has set aside sh. 50 million to help needy widows in Kilifi to establish and expand their businesses in an effort to empower and improve their lives and their families.
The funding scheme known as Thamini loan, was unveiled in Kilifi County on Tuesday by Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) for Ministry of Public Service Senior Citizen and Special Programmes Rachel Shebesh, at Kilifi North Chief’s office lawn to provide widows access to the interest-free group loans.
During the event, the CAS accompanied by local leaders said that women whose husbands untimely demised were facing unique challenges in the society such as discrimination, losing of family property and carrying huge burden of raising children alone, therefore, prompting the government to give them special consideration.
“Because of the special interest in widowed mothers, we found that even in women groups they are not listened to at all. Sometimes they face problems that are different from the group of other women that is why we came up with this Thamini loan which is exclusively for widows,” she said.
Several widow groups that had already registered and applied for the funds received their cheques of cash worth a total of 13.5 million.
Shebesh urged other widows to form groups and register in large numbers, so as to access the funds lying idle in the banks. She also urged the local administration to help create awareness and mobilize the targeted group to come out for the assistance.
Women Enterprise Fund Chief Executive Officer Charles Mwirigi said, the government has enough funds to support women groups hinting that they are developing more products such as asset finance to enable groups own property that will boost their businesses.
“We have more facilities, the way we developed Thamini, and made a national launch in Nairobi, we made plans as Women Enterprise Fund, so as to bring asset finance on board because the ministry and the body have agreed”, he said.
Thamini loan product was officially launched in July 2021 in Nairobi by Cabinet Secretary Pro. Margaret Kobia targeting widows in Kenya aged 18 years and above within certified widow led groups.
By Jackson Msanzu