Women Enterprise Fund has disbursed interest-free loans amounting to Sh 417 million in the nine constituencies in Bungoma County.
These loans have been given to women groups in Tongaren, Kanduyi, Kabuchai, Sirisia, Webuye East, Bumula, Webuye West, Mt Elgon and Kimilili constituencies.
“In addition to the loans, we offer these women groups training, market linkages, book keeping, marketing skills, business ideas, business plans, responsibilities for each member and organize seminars where they can interact with other women in other parts of the country,” said Moses Simiyu Walucho, Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) Officer Kanduyi.
WEF is a Government of Kenya entity mandated to empower women socially and economically.
This is done by mobilizing resources to enable women access affordable credit and business supports to empower Kenyan women to secure a better quality life and contribute to the economy.
Its mission is ‘to mobilize resources for sustainable access to affordable financial and business support services to empower Kenyan women.
Since inception, the Fund has received Sh 5.54 billion from the National Treasury and cumulatively disbursed loans totaling Sh 16.9 billion to 1.6 million women entrepreneurs countrywide.
The Loan Repayment Rate stands at 97 percent.
Through the various collaborations, a total of 1.14 million women have undergone various trainings to empower them socially and economically.
Below are some of the success stories of the women groups.
Fadhili Slim Women Group
Fadhili Women Group was founded by 15 members as a merry-go-round. The women supported each other’s financial needs by giving each member a lump sum amount to be injected into individual businesses or pay school fees for the children or relatives.
Soon the group, located in Kanduyi Constituency in Bungoma County, started engaging in table banking where the members could borrow and repay with earning the group interest income.
In 2011, the group joined the Women Enterprise Fund after having increased their savings.
At the beginning they were given an interest-free credit facility of Sh 100,000. After repaying the loan, they borrowed Sh 200,000 and their credit worthiness grew and were given Sh 750,000.
The group specializes in manufacturing among other items liquid soap, toilet disinfector, carpets, artificial flowers and shampoo which they sell as a form of income.
“The training, exhibition and seminars we attend that are facilitated by Women Enterprise Fund has broadened our scope and now we are engaged in online marketing to sell our products locally and internationally,” Fadhili Women Group Secretary Floice Ambiyo Esuchi said.
Nyota Kumi Self-Help Group
After hustling in the village for many years without any form of income, 10 women came together motivated by the desire to be the “ten stars of the village.” They formed Nyota Kumi Self-Help Group from Swahili word for “ten stars.” The group was registered in 2009 and started as a merry-go round.
Soon they were engaged in table banking and grew their savings significantly.
“We started in the dark and today Nyota Kumi has lightened up the ten members. Our lives have changed and we have become a darling of other women in the village,” Margaret Muloma, the Treasurer said.
The group has ventured into several income-generating activities with funds obtained from the Women Enterprise Fund.
They are engaged in poultry farming, have a farm where they grow maize for sale, they operate a maize silo commercial maize , runs a posho mill and have a have a brick-making machine in which they employ five male employees to operate it.
One member of the group, Lydia Kituyi, who is also the Secretary, is the proprietor of Mutufu Tailoring and Training Shop in Bungoma town where she employs two tailors.
The Diploma graduate from the Buru Buru Institute of Fine Arts imports her clothing material from Mwanza, Tanzania.
“I plan to get more funds from Women Enterprise Fund and expand my tailoring and training business next year and could employ a few more tailors and expand my business,” she said.
Yiicha Obone Women Group
“Yiicha Obone” in Luhya language means “Come and See.” Redempta Wekesa, the Treasurer, and 11 other women joined hands to form Yiicha Obone Women Group in 2009 as a merry-go round and also doubled with table banking and in three years they had accumulated savings of Kshs 500,000.
So when they joined Women Enterprise Fund in 2012 they engaged in income-generating activities such as commercial farming, dairy farming and poultry farming.
The group from Bungoma County has purchased interlocking blocks machine used for making bricks and have ventured into real estate in which they own rental houses and shopping blocks.
“Just as our name suggests, when you pay us a visit you encounter great motivation to succeed and excel in us. The interlocking bricks machine enables our customers to construct low-cost houses since minimal amount of cement is needed to hold the bricks together,” Wekesa, the Treasurer said.