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Rachel Ruto roots for rural women empowerment

By By Titus Too | June 25th 2013

By Titus Too

ELDORET, KENYA: Deputy President William Ruto's wife, Rachael has urged women to moot for an umbrella organisation that can effectively represent business groups in rural areas.

Mrs Ruto noted that about 90 percent of women in rural areas do not access information on credit opportunities they can exploit to boost their enterprises and improve their livelihoods.

She said funds to support rural women groups are available through youth and women enterprise funds but some of them have missed out due to poor flow of information.

She noted that only women groups in urban areas seek credit from the revolving fund kitty because they access information and also know how to make business proposals.

“An umbrella organisation representing business interests for the groups can reach out to rural areas and also assist women groups make proposals and draw business plans,” she said.

Mrs Ruto who initiated a successful women enterprise organisation –Joyful Women Organisation (JOYWO) in Eldoret North, said the group would now reach out and assist small business groups countrywide.

“JOYWO will represent rural women groups at the top and will seek friends, sponsors and trainers who will sensitize groups on managerial skills,” said Mrs Ruto who is the patron of JOYWO.

She made the remarks at the St Peter’s Catholic Church in Kapsabet during a meeting convened by JOYWO and attended by over 500 women representing various groups in Nandi County.

She was accompanied by Nandi county women representative Ziporah Kering and county executive in-charge of devolution and planning Consolata Kuto among others.

Mrs Ruto said that JOYWO will assist to build the capacity of women in the country on economic empowerment and poverty reduction in the rural areas.

During the meeting, Mrs Ruto stressed the need for women to embrace a new concept of table banking where women can engage in small scale business enterprises and making savings.

The table banking concept, she said, saw JOYWO grow through a revolving fund from Sh 6 million to its current Sh 63 million.

Mrs Ruto said the Government through Poverty Eradication Commission (PEC) launched the table banking system with the aim of helping women in rural areas access funds for income generating activities.

She said two pilot projects were initiated by the government in 1999 and improved in 2004 in Bondo and Gatanga which proved to be the best way to help women groups prosper.

She also urged women to strengthen leadership in their groups and exchange ideas on how to boost business ventures.

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