Kitui County Government has established a Sh180 million empowerment fund that is set to benefit more than 5,000 women and youth groups in the region.
Already, various groups have submitted their applications for the Empowerment Fund that is aimed at helping village-based groups access low cost financing to promote their enterprises.
Modelled like the national government’s Uwezo Fund, loans will be charged at a low interest rate of five per cent while beneficiaries will enjoy a moratorium of six months before they start repaying.
According to Governor Ngilu, financing youth, women and persons with disabilities at village level will help them generate gainful self- employment as well as grow the rural economy.
“Only loans above Sh200,000 will require security, but the kitty will disburse loans of up to Sh1 million. The amount given to each group will vary from time to time depending on the money applied for,” said Governor Ngilu while launching the kitty at Kyuso market in Mwingi North last week.
Flanked by MCAs from Mwingi North led by Kyuso’s Stephen Kivunzi , Ms Ngilu said the fund was fulfilment of the fifth pillar of her campaign manifesto on wealth creation.
“I promised Kitui people I would adopt policies that would help them create wealth at the lowest levels in the community. Groups planning to start ventures like poultry keeping, goat rearing, bee keeping or horticulture will now be supported to grow their businesses,” she said.
The governor said the fund is revolving in nature and its operations will be based in wards because it’s number one goal is to eradicate poverty and hunger while promoting gender equality by empowering women.
She asked the national government to consider channelling Youth Empowerment Fund and Women Empowerment Funds through the Kitui County Empowerment Fund, saying the move will make it easier for village-based groups to borrow.
“About 65 per cent of the funds allocated to Kitui County for Women Empowerment Fund and Youth Empowerment Fund every year is not absorbed but returned to the National Treasury.
This is because community groups find the application procedures too cumbersome” she argued. “The county government has structures that reach up to the village level, therefore it is easier for our officers to disburse and monitor repayment of the loans.”
During the launch, loans amounting to Sh1 million were disbursed to various groups in Kyuso ward.