President Obama came with many goodies for the country. For us women, one thing that stands out prominently is that one of the three global funding centres will be domiciled in Nairobi.
That is after endorsing women’s empowerment “...an educated woman will educate her children” and thus society will rapidly develop. This is the biggest stamp of permission for us women to go for the sky.
The money will basically be disbursed through local banks at minimum interest. It is almost like a soft loan, that is where you get money and repay.
This fund targets women groups and youths who are already doing something; not start-ups. The aim is to move your business to the next level and help you realise profits sooner than anticipated. With the profits, then the group is able to grow and expand.
The global community realised that women are left behind in development because they cannot access credit. To start African women off or help them realise their objectives faster, the US government will start the pilot money-lending programme through three centres in Africa – in Mali, Kenya and Zambia.
Just like other international funding organisations, the groups will access the loan after submitting acceptable proposals. Since you give time-lines in the proposal (which is a template specifically for this fund that you can download from the Internet), the money loaned to you is given in batches.
For example, if your proposal indicates that in August 2015, you will need Sh100,000 for planting onions on a two-acre plot, that is the money you can access.
There will be officers who will actually come around and confirm that what the chama is doing on the ground is exactly what was put on paper before you access credit.
Terms of repayment must also be very clear. You cannot, for example, say you will expand your land buying and selling engagement to Mau Forest and expect to be funded.
Now women have a host of opportunities to expand their entrepreneurship, make money and improve their lives as well as that of others.
To start off at your chama or investment group; urgently meet and go through the requirements of applying for these loans. It will be unfortunate that an opportunity has been presented to Kenyan youth and women and yet we let it pass.
Unlike the Kenyan funding for women such as Uwezo Fund, which have so many rules and other inhibitions that discourage women from applying, this fund has made everything easy – and there are experts to help you understand how to go about accessing the loan.
Come up with a sketch proposal with your plans on how you want to expand what you are engaged on and move from reaping small profits to big time earnings. Why not?
As a group, you can become a Tabitha and own a business as big as Keroche Breweries.
It is funding that has been preventing women from exercising their skills and talents.
Now you have no excuse not to become influential too.
The chama that has been lending ‘small’ money at minimal interest can plan to also become financial powerhouses.
If you are not sure about writing proposals, get some training on how to do it or get an expert to write it for you, of course, with your guidance.
There are experts in town whose work is to write proposals at a fee.
The important thing is that you will grow financial muscle and in the process let other women also flex their own.
In the same breath, help the women chamas in rural areas to also get this funding. Once you get yours, involve them, let everyone benefit and grow.
The ‘Obama money’ is not loose change. It is billions. So in your plans also think big. Tens of millions to start with it. Do not fear borrowing to improve your income flow.
The millionaires you see out here borrow heavily – and staggering amounts – from banks. Generally, you cannot grow without loans.
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