Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender CAS, Rachael Shebesh, has urged the public to engage in projects that will transform their lives instead of following politicians blindly.
Speaking at the Machakos Golf Club grounds during an Education Day organized by Universal Traders Sacco, the former Nairobi Woman Rep said that the only way to beat the cycle of poverty in the country was through programmes that can empower the people to earn a decent living besides saving for the future.
Shebesh, who awarded a cheque of Ksh10 million to the Sacco through the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF), also lauded the current cordial working relationship between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga saying it had helped the country make great strides in economic growth.
“Since the handshake between the President (Uhuru Kenyatta) and opposition leader Raila Odinga, we have seen a lot of benefits in this country especially in the ease of doing business due to the peaceful political climate. We, therefore, urge Kenyans to stop following politicians who are going around the country campaigning for 2022 elections instead of addressing the challenges affecting those who voted for them in the first place,” the CAS told attendees.
In regard to funds released to women empowerment, Shebesh urged all beneficiaries to utilize the money in profitable ventures that will uplift their lives.
She pointed out that since the money was not a grant, borrowers should ensure the loan borrowed is repaid on time to avoid denying the opportunity to other deserving groups.
“The repayment of Uwezo Fund in Machakos at the moment stands at 98 per cent which is commendable. But we urge those who are receiving the money to make sure it is repaid promptly. We also urge leaders to move into the villages and sensitize the people about the programmes which the government has laid out for uplifting the lives and educate them on how they can benefit from such,” she added.
Machakos County Woman Rep, Joyce Kamene Kasimbi, stated that her office had set aside Ksh50 million to help empower women through the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).
The legislator added that by the end of this month, she would be launching the kitty to ensure women can be in a position to come up with income generating activities such as small scale irrigation projects and viable business ventures.
“The biggest problem with our women is lack of information on what they can do to improve their livelihoods. It is for this reason we have been moving across all the 40 wards to identify the challenges facing our women and educate them on how they can find solutions for them,” she explained.
Kasimbi also called on the youth in the county to take advantage of the Kenya Youth Empowerment Opportunities Program (KYEOP) to be in a position to access funds to start small income-generating activities.
On his part, Universal Trader CEO, Simon Kitheka, called upon the government to encourage the public to join Saccos as one way of saving in order to borrow in future.
Kitheka, who doubles as the Finance Director at the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, however, challenged the youth, women and people with special needs, to agitate for a 30 per cent stake of all government tenders and funding to enable them become self-reliant in life.
“The constitution spells out clearly that 30 per cent of government tenders and programmes be assigned to youths, women and people with special needs. But unless you push the government, it will not move,” indicated the official.
During the function, a total of 50 self-help groups within Machakos County received cheques worth Ksh9.45 million.
The groups were the successful applicants of the WEF Tuinuke Loan, an interest-free constituency based lending scheme which targets women across the country.
Universal Traders Sacco has partnered with the government in a deal, which will see women groups borrow money directly from the institution at a subsidized rate of eight per cent reducing balance, to undertake businesses activities.
Universal Traders Sacco becomes the 10th Sacco in the country to be funded by WEF in a bid to reach individual women borrowers.
To date, WEF has disbursed a total o Sh16.4 billion since its inception in 2007. Machakos alone has received a total Sh332.2 million with 2, 587 groups benefitting from the scheme.
Others present during the function included Machakos County Deputy Commissioner George Kubai and due to advanced technology (KNCCI) President Richard Ngatia among others.