The government of Kenya has announced interest-free loans for widows, claiming that it wants to improve their livelihoods by supporting their profit-generating activities.
Prof Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs, and Special Programmes, announced on Friday, November 26, that her Ministry created the Thamini Loan funds, for which beneficiaries will pay no administrative fees.
Widows who apply for the loan will receive between Ksh100,000 and Ksh1,000,000, with repayment terms ranging from six to thirty months.
“More than 1.6 million widows have received business training.” Through the implementation of affirmative action funds for youth and women across the country, we are committed to the principle of inclusion and participation of all Kenyans.
“We have already disbursed more than Ksh295.4 million to women in Siaya County through the Women Enterprise Fund,” Kobia said, adding that Siaya was one of the pilot counties targeted by the funding.
The CS went on to say that the money had benefited 34,882 women, with a good repayment rate of 95%.
Kobia spoke to women at Simerro Trading Centre in Ugunja Sub County, Siaya, as part of the Huduma Mashinani Initiative, which saw hundreds of citizens benefit from various government services.
Rachel Shebesh, Chief Administrative Secretary, was present, as were legislators Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), Dr Lillian Gogo (Rangwe), Prof Jacqueline Oduol (nominated), and Dr Christine Ombaka (Siaya Woman Representative).
The fund is aimed at active widows in Kenya aged 18 and up who want to expand their businesses with certified widow-led groups.
How to Apply
- Be a registered self-help group of at least ten members that has been in operation for at least three months and is made up entirely of women, at least 70% of whom are widows.
- Widows must hold all positions of leadership.
- Must have a bank/Sacco/FOSA/Post Bank/Deposit-Taking Microfinance account (DTM).
- As a condition for applying for a loan, groups must be trained by Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) officers in specialized and holistic business management skills.
Each member of the group is charged Ksh100.
A loan tracker booklet costs Ksh200 for the first loan.
Every Thamini Loan comes with a one-month grace period.