Last year, the Kenya Women Microfinance Bank (KWFT) won the Best Practice in Sustainable Finance Category in Catalyst Awards’ by the Kenya Bankers Association.
This year, however, KWFT went a notch higher and scooped top positions in several categories placing it in the Best Overall winners in the country. The awards were very competitive with 47 entries from 14 Financial Institutions.
KWFT’s Managing Director Mwangi Githaiga said that the awards confirm that what the Bank has been doing is paying off.
“We put a lot of effort to ensure that we make an impact in the society,” he said adding that priorities have to be right for a bank to align their plans around sustainable financing and as a result transform the lives of the Kenyan families.
KWFT has been in existence for over three decades and this has been a journey of empowering women through financial inclusion and ensuring that the bank remains competitive in the market.
“To empower women is to empower a family,” says Mr Githaiga.
“We are setting standards on how to be responsible in the industry. It is not about huge profits but mainly about how KWFT sustainably transforms the lives of the clients through addressing their needs and gradually uplifting them out of poverty and elevating them to improved living standards,” he added.
The Institution was also feted for promoting Gender Inclusivity as KWFT has 15 Executive and Non-Executive Directors, out of which 9 are women, thus forming 60 per cent of Women Directors.
In addition, it has 16 senior managers out of which 12 are women and 4 are men, this means 75 per cent of the senior management positions are for women.
The Institution also has a total of 2,533 employees out of which 1,440 are women, thus making 57 per cent of the employees to be women; this places KWFT to be at the forefront in championing gender inclusivity.
With 80 per cent of KWFT’s clients residing in the rural areas, the Institution has made a deliberate effort to reduce inequalities and enhancing financial inclusion by ensuring that its operations reach far and wide to provide equal opportunities to all women and their families around the country. To foster this need KWFT has invested in a vast branch network of 245 offices spread out across 45 out of the 47 counties in Kenya.
The future of the firm will see it roll out several products in a bid to expand its portfolio and become more inclusive.
“We are looking to delve in the financing of home Improvement Portfolio which includes micro housing our focus being in the rural areas,” says the managing director.
This Portfolio has other embedded products which include; water harvesting, hygiene, lighting and cooking solutions.
KWFT is also looking to roll out a micro-insurance medical cover in conjunction with AAR and KWFT Insurance Agency. The product is currently under pilot with 2,000 customers so far with an aim of introducing another 30,000 customers to the scheme in the next one year.
The firm is also eyeing the regional market as it plans to expand its footprint beyond the Kenyan borders.