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Sh8.3 million funds to empower Kiunga and Pate women

At least 240 women in Pate and Kiunga areas will benefit from a Shs 8.3 million loan facility from The Northern Rangeland Trust (NRT) Trading’s Biashara Mashinani initiative to enable them start up small business ventures tailored to uplift their livelihoods.

The loan facility by the NRT trading subsidiary was disbursed through women groups in Lamu East’s Pate and Kiunga areas will entail that each member of the selected groups receives between Kshs 25,000 and Kshs 100,000 based on a graduation based savings system from ongoing revolving fund to boost their businesses.

Speaking during the launch of the fund facility in Kiunga today, Lamu Governor Issa Timamy hailed the initiative as progressive adding that the County government will continue to facilitate NRT’s work within Lamu to ensure their initiatives within marginalized communities continues to have the desired impact.

He further said that the Lamu County government appreciated the support NRT is giving to marginalized communities and especially in women empowerment which he noted had helped lift several women from poverty by providing them with funds to start small businesses.

He further hailed the initiative by NRT who have also set up a desalination plant in Kiunga to aid in alleviating the water crisis.

“The county government would like to assure Kiunga residents that we are working towards repairing the county’s desalination plant in Kiunga, which will further ensure that area residents have access to fresh water, which has proved to be a challenge in Lamu East,” Timamy stated.

NRT Senior Enterprise Development Officer Elema Mohamud Elema stated that the initiative had so far benefited more than 1,000 women across the coastal region with at least 500 women benefitting from the affirmative action programme.

“The Biashara Mashinani initiative is aimed at economically empowering the women, ensuring financial independence for women through small business initiatives as well as providing alternative sources of income for families within Kiunga and Pate,” Elema stated.

“So far, the women groups are participating in building octopuses’ closures, mangrove conservancies and grocery shops to diversify their revenue streams,” NRT Marine Officer Mohammed Shali said.

He added that the idea is to ensure families in Lamu East have multiple revenue streams to deter dependence on one breadwinner.

On her part Fatma Athman, Chairperson of the Pate Conservancy and a Kshs 100,000 beneficiary of the initiative stated that she had progressively been graduating from an initial loan of Kshs 25,000 in 2019 up until recently when she became eligible for Kshs 100,000 which she revealed would aid her in expanding her wholesale shop business.

She said that prior to the affirmative action initiative being started in Pate, she had been solely dependent on her husband’s fishing income.

“Women in Lamu East are mostly unemployed and largely dependent on their husbands to earn a living for their families either through fishing or mangrove harvesting, and the move to provide alternative revenue streams by NRT is noble as it helps lessen the strain on families,” Hawa Ali also known as mama Plastic due to her conservation efforts and a Kshs 25,000 beneficiary stated.

CEC in Charge of Fisheries Faiz Fan Kupi on his part stated that the Lamu County government would further fund the affirmative action initiative through the Kenya Marine Fisheries and Socio-Economic Development fund to support the county’s fishing and mangrove industries.

By Amenya Ochieng

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