Women and youth groups in Kisumu, Homa Bay and Siaya counties will benefit from more than Sh1 billion funding this financial year, the Government has announced.
Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia said Siaya County would receive Sh500 million, Homa Bay Sh500 million and Kisumu County Sh400 million for onward lending to the groups.
She asked the youth to apply for the money and use it to build business instead of waiting to get white-collar jobs.
“This is why we want the youth, especially young graduates, to understand the importance of inculcating an entrepreneurial culture in their minds,’’ Prof Kobia said in Kisumu last week when she oversaw the disbursement of cheques worth Sh21 million to women and youth groups.
The beneficiaries included groups in Kisumu East and Kisumu West as well as parts of Nyando constituencies. The cash included disbursements from Uwezo Fund, National Government Affirmative Action Fund and Youth Enterprise Development Fund.
The CS expressed disappointment at the uptake of the funds, saying most groups chose to stay away for fear of defaulting on paying the loans.
“Why do people here fear loans? We are giving out a lot of money and you don’t want to take it. Come for it. The Government will not kill you even if you default,’’ she said.
“These departments (Uwezo Fund, the National Government Affirmative Action Fund and Youth Enterprise Development Fund) request a lot of money from the National Treasury and sometimes end up returning almost half of the cash,’’ she added.
The CS urged the beneficiaries of the funds to repay their loans promptly so that others can benefit from the revolving funds.
In an effort to achieve financial inclusion for all, the Government has committed to increasing opportunities for youth, women and persons with disability.
The Youth Enterprise Development Fund's Kisumu County coordinator, Leornard Ochieng, said Sh377 million had been received and would be disbursed to various women and youth groups.