What you need to know:
- Channelling resources through women is a proven method for family and community development.
- In its strategic plan for the 2021-2024 period, the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) is set to disburse Sh9.3 billion.
The empowerment of women is a strategy the government has effectively used to promote the welfare of Kenyans. After all, as often pointed out, channelling resources through women is a proven method for family and community development.
One of the most effective ways to get women started is the allocation of 30 per cent of all government procurement jobs to them and also the youth. It has enabled women to start their own enterprises.
The older women, who cannot venture into business, have not been left behind. Alongside old men, they are beneficiaries of the Inua Jamii cash transfer programme to the elderly. This cash is making a difference in the villages, where the recipients are enabled to cater for their immediate needs. It may not be adequate but it is, definitely, better than nothing.
However, perhaps the most ambitious such programme is the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF), under the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs. In its strategic plan for the 2021-2024 period, WEF is set to disburse Sh9.3 billion. That, by any standard, is a huge sum of money.
However, there is no doubt that the fund has the capacity to put that money to good use. Between 2019 and 2021, it channelled Sh6.6 billion to 248,211 beneficiaries.
In its new plan, WEF targets 551,789 beneficiaries. It has, therefore, introduced new products, including special loans, as it seeks to increase disbursement by Sh3.7 billion. The Thamini loan is intended specifically cater for widows. This is a segment of the population, especially in the rural areas, that is crying out for support.
Most of these women struggle a lot after losing their breadwinners. Instead of encouraging dependency and begging, a programme that enables them to earn a dignified livelihood is worth the effort. Empowering women makes a lot of sense.