MALINDI, Kenya, Nov 25 – The government, through the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) has disbursed more than Sh26 billion to women groups in the country since inception, Public Service, Gender and Affirmative Action Cabinet Secretary Aisha Jumwa said on Thursday.
Jumwa said out of the disbursed amounts, women groups in Kilifi County have received Sh588 million disbursed to over 50,000 beneficiaries.
The CS was speaking during the launch of Thamini Fund, Huduma Mashinani and the WEF Corporate Social Responsibility Programme (CSR) on Women Wellness at the Mapimo Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in Magarini Constituency.
During the event that was graced by senior officials from the Women Enterprise Fund, the National Government Affirmative Action Fund and Huduma Kenya led by their respective Chief Executive Officers, Ms. Jumwa issued cheques amounting to Sh7.2 million to 16 women groups under the Thamini Fund, a new product from WEF targeting widows.
“In addition, we are introducing Thamini Fund. This new loan targets widows and is aimed at improving their livelihoods. I therefore encourage women to take advantage of this special product available to them,” she said.
The Women Enterprise Fund, she said, is mandated to empower women through various programmes such as giving affordable credit, training in business skills and marketing of goods and services produced by women.
Jumwa at the same time announced that the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) had disbursed more than Sh14 billion country-wide to support projects that benefit women, persons with disabilities, the youth and the elderly.
“I would like to underscore the role played by the NGAAF. Since inception, over Sh14 billion has been disbursed to support projects that benefit women, persons with disabilities, the youth and the elderly,” she said.
The CS noted that in the last financial year, Kilifi County received over Sh50 million which was utilized in table banking (Sh9 million), bursaries (Sh8.2 million), purchase and distribution of sanitary towels, sewing machines and water tanks to various schools (Sh11.7 million), while another Sh4.6 million supported 73 groups engaged in value addition.
Jumwa said the launch of the Huduma Mashinani programme was in line with her pledge to undertake specific interventions for Huduma Kenya within the first 100 days in office, in which Huduma Kenya will conduct 100 Huduma Mashinani outreaches across the country with a view to taking services closer to citizens.
“I am happy to announce that my ministry is on track to achieve these interventions that include extended working hours in 18 select Huduma Centres to operate from 7 am to 7 pm which is planned to commence on December 5, 2022,” she said.
She said her ministry would also engage with the Kenya Forest Service to roll out Huduma Centre Adopt-a-County-Forest programme with a target to plant 500 million trees in the next five years.
Huduma Kenya in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute of Kenya provided free screening for cervical and breast cancer under the Huduma Mashinani programme.
The week-long event also saw Magarini residents receive services offered in Huduma Centres such as the applications for birth certificates, death certificates and certificates of good conduct among others.
She noted that the Huduma Kenya Service Delivery Programme had transformed the public service into one that is responsive to the needs of Kenyans by making government services convenient, dignified and easily accessible.
“I applaud the collaboration with various ministries, departments, agencies and county governments in ensuring that citizens have access to public service,” she said adding, “Huduma Centres have become an important touch point for public services that wananchi identify as the Face of Government.”
Magarini Member of Parliament Harrison Garama Kombe asked the government to consider building a Huduma Centre in Magarini to enable residents to access government services without having to travel to Kilifi or Mombasa as is currently the case.
Kombe, who congratulated Jumwa on her appointment as Cebinet Secretary, said he would set aside funds from the National Government Constituency Development Fund to build a Huduma Centre in Gongoni township and a library in Marafa, the Sub County Headquarters.
“We are doing our best to ensure that the NG-CDF is reinstated and my first project will be to put up a building that will house a Huduma Centre in Gongoni and a library in Marafa,” he said.
Kilifi County Commisioner Kutswa Olaka supported sentiments by leaders on the establishment of Huduma Centres in other parts of the county apart from the one in Kilifi town.
Beneficiaries of the various funds lauded the funds for empowering women, the youth, persons with disabilities and the elderly through affordable loans and grants.