By ROSELYNE OBALA and JOEL OKWAYO
The Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT) disbursed over Sh13 billion to women groups last year, a top official has said.
The Trust also opened a deposit taking branch in Kakamega for its members.
KWFT Managing Director Mwangi Githaiga said the institution’s main operations was to advance loans to women to start up projects.
"We used to get loans from commercial banks to access credits to the women at the same time they also saved with the banks. But it turned out to be expensive," he explained.
Mr Githaiga said the new branch opened will provide the women friendly activities and offer good services. He said other branches will soon be opened in Eldoret, Nyeri, Mombasa and Machakos.
He said out of the Sh13 billion disbursed last year, Sh1.5billion was issued to more than 40,000 women in western province. "This year, we plan to disburse Sh2.1 billion to more than 50,000 women in this region," he said.
KWFT CEO Jennipher Riria and Githaiga said plans are under way to open more branches countrywide to ensure that women access financial services without difficulties.
Mwangi named branches set for opening as Mombasa, Machakos, Eldoret, Nyeri, Butere, Bungoma, Vihiga and Webuye.
"This is for women. Men can only act as guarantors in the loan acquisition process," said Mwangi.
The officials spoke during the opening of the new branch in Kakamega town yesterday.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Government Musalia Mudavadi presided over the function also attended by assistant ministers Manyala Keya (Gender), Wavinya Ndeti (Youth) and ShinyaluMP Kizito Mugali.
Mudavadi noted KWFT works with over 400,000 women and their families in the country. "Of these, over 150,000 are from western region," he said.