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Women groups feeling the heat of hard economic times

Women  groups in Nakuru County are disbanding due to hard economic times, with some members losing their family properties due to unpaid loans.

One  group,Maono women group which has been progressing well since1980s has finally crumbled and members left squabbling  with respective families.

The  Chairlady  of the group, Sarah  Mbeche  attributed the scenario to financial difficulties and the inability to pay the  loans  they  took from Kenya Women Financial Trust (KWFT), which she said sets high interest rates and short repayment  periods.

Mbeche  cited the example of a woman who defaulted in paying her share of the loan they had taken from KWFT whereby other  members invaded her home without a court order and took away the only two dairy cows she possessed. “They sold them to  recover the amount she was supposed to pay,” she added.

“Worse  still,” Mbeche went on, “the husband chased her away and when her parents and relatives tried to intervene the man  demanded that they return his cows before any form of negotiation could take place.Unfortunately, the incident has now  divided the members and they have decided to disband the group.”

Investigations by KNA revealed that many other groups were facing serious loan repayment challenges.

Meanwhile, KWFT has just completed the construction of the imposing Jennifer Riria shopping mall, which is named after its  founder.

However, some  women groups in Nakuru town feel they have indirectly contributed to construction of the facility through  their sweat but they have neither shares in the mega investment nor any form of recognition.

Ironically, as women groups disintegrate, men in the informal settlements are busy encouraging each other to join self  help financial clusters. Only time will tell their survival story.

By  Veronica  Bosibori


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