The government has announced interest-free loans for Kenyan widows, stating that it is seeking to improve their livelihoods through supporting their profits-generating activities.
Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes, Prof Margaret Kobia, on Friday, November 26, announced that her Ministry developed the funds dubbed Thamini Loan, whose beneficiaries will not pay any administrative fee.
Widows applying for the loan will get between Ksh100,000 and Ksh1,000,000 with flexible repayment terms for a period of up to 30 months.
“Over 1.6 million widows have received business skills training. We are committed to the principle of inclusion and participation of all Kenyans through the implementation of affirmative action funds for the youth and women all over the county.
“We have already disbursed more than Ksh295.4 million through the Women Enterprise Fund to women in Siaya County,” Kobia stated, adding that Siaya was one of the pilot counties targetted in the funding.
The CS further stated that the amount has benefitted 34,882 women, with a good repayment rate of 95 per cent.
Kobia spoke while addressing women at Simerro trading centre in Ugunja Sub County, Siaya, during a Huduma Mashinani Initiative that saw hundreds of citizens benefit from various government services.
Among those in attendance were Chief Administrative Secretary, Rachel Shebesh, legislators Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), Dr Lillian Gogo (Rangwe), Prof Jacqueline Oduol (nominated) and Dr Christine Ombaka (Siaya Woman Representative).
The fund targets active widows in Kenya aged 18 years and above seeking to expand their businesses with certified widows-led groups.
How to Apply
Be a registered self-help group of 10 members and must have been in existence for at least three months and comprising 100 per cent women out of whom at least 70 per cent are widows.
All leadership positions must be held by widows.
Must have an account in a bank/Sacco/FOSA/Post Bank/Deposit-Taking Microfinance (DTM).
Groups must be trained on specialised and holistic business management skills by the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) officers as a prerequisite for the loan application.
Ksh100 is charged for each member of the group.
A loan tracker booklet chargeable at Ksh200 for every first loan.
A one-month grace period applies to every Thamini Loan taken.