Home > Business & Finance > Sh7.8 million empowerment funds transform lives in Kitui County

Sh7.8 million empowerment funds transform lives in Kitui County

The Youth and Enterprise Fund disbursed Sh7.8 million to support youth groups and individuals to boost business start-ups in Kitui County during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to KNA in his office, Kitui County Credit Officer Julius Mutambaa was optimistic that a targeted Sh8.5 million will be disbursed to groups and individual groups on a rolling basis.

“At the moment we are funding only the individuals with ongoing businesses. Interested youths apply for the fund either as individuals or as a group not exceeding five youths, and if they meet the statutory requirements, the money is disbursed,” said Mutambaa.

The credit officer noted that the greatest challenge the youth fund has been grappling with are loan defaulters adding that it reduces the credit worthiness of the group or an individual.

“We always visit poultry and farming projects undertaken by the youth groups or individuals to ensure that they are viable before giving out the loans and I can assure you that majority of the projects in Kitui County are viable,” said Mutambaa.

“We also have the KYEOP programme whereby we give the youths training on business and life skills. Successful candidates are placed under master craft persons for three months and a two months attachment after which they do a national exam and attain a certificate,” he said.

Similarly, he noted that occasionally, youth officers conduct empowerment sessions at the villages and places where the youth are gathered like those at Kazi Mtaani to enlighten them on the opportunities available at the Youth Fund to unlock their entrepreneurial potential.

Separately, Women Enterprise Fund Lower Eastern Regional Coordinator Joseph Oyowo told KNA that the fund has transformed a number of women’s lives in a bid to fight poverty at the household level.

“Capacity building is the second mandate after provision of credit. The fund undertakes business skills entrepreneurship training and has registered tremendous success. The trainings are offered by the field officers who are based in every constituency and are trained trainers,” said Oyowo.

He added that besides the entrepreneurship training which seeks to sharpen business skills, the fund also offers value addition trainings targeting agriculture value chains in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

“The entrepreneurship training is a three-day training using the approved fund training manual and the trainees are awarded with training certificates and this training is mandatory for one to be eligible for WEF funding,” said Oyowo.

He pointed out the need to promote women participation in manufacturing or production sectors which form part of growth-oriented businesses by women in agriculture, livestock and fisheries.

Oyowo revealed that loan repayment attained in Kitui County is 94 per cent against a nationally achieved rate of 96 per cent adding that individual constituency repayment rates in Kitui county range from a high of 99 per cent to a low of 85per cent.

“The main challenge experienced working with the women is high level illiteracy and inability of the women to differentiate or separate business from personal engagements. In addition, the disintegration of groups due to distrust among group members and group conflicts that leads to default in loan repayment is another common challenge,” regretted Oyowo.

In order to mitigate the challenges, he said that the fund intends to introduce a high impact brief training, targeting the core financial literacy areas. The training captures critical financial skills such as budgeting, bookkeeping and credit management through group dynamics.

Gladys Philomena a business lady in Kitui town is a beneficiary of the youth fund, she runs a boutique and an M-PESA business at the central trading center.

“I applied for the loan on February 25, 2021 and I got it on June 24, 2021. I needed the money to boost my business because I had gone low on funds after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. So far, my business is doing great and I look forward to great returns so that I can be able to start loan repayment in the next three months,” said Gladys.

By Yobesh Onwong’a and Diana Syong’ombe

Leave a Reply