By The COAST Reporter
Kilifi County government has created Wezesha Fund of Sh200 million in partnership with Kenya Commercial Bank and Rafiki Microfinance Bank to benefit women entrepreneurs and youth groups.
Governor Gideon Mung’aro, during the re launch of the fund, said the programme was aimed at uplifting the living standards of the locals.
Through the partnership, the fund will have the capacity to loan women or youth groups to a tune of Sh1 billion.
“What we have done is to rebrand the Mbegu Fund to Wezesha to attract more partners and through them bring on board our capacity to loan upto Sh1 billion.”
The loans, according to him, will be interest free and _sheria_ (law) compliant with beneficiaries paying a one-off 4 percent management fee.
The fund has adopted major changes to attract more beneficiaries at the grassroots level.
“We have adopted major changes which include fully devolved at the ward level to allow women and youth groups apply at their respective wards within their subcounty levels.”
Already, some 2,229 groups and 32 cooperatives have benefited from a Sh320 million since the rollout of the fund targeting sole proprietors, saccos and medium and small enterprises.
According to the governor there are many people who are hardworking but lack the finances to boost themselves thus, living in abject poverty.
The governor said from the beneficiaries’ testimonies the fund was transforming lives in the county thus, achieving the intended objective.
“This is an economic empowerment programme that does not force any group into any kind of business but is open to any group’s choice of project.”
Samuel Mburu, Mtwapa Rafiki Microfinance branch manager, said that entities were partnering with county governments to empower youth and women so as to reduce the rate of unemployment.
He wants more youth to form groups and start income generation activities so that they benefit from the fund that had conducive terms.