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