Uwezo Fund – Kenya

Update:

 Nov 20 2013 – The National Assembly has approved a House Committee’s amendments to the Uwezo Fund regulations which will see the Sh6 billion fund turned into a revolving one.

The fund would be replenished every year just as the National Women Empowerment and National Youth Enterprise Funds.

The money had originally been budgeted for a presidential run-off but President Kenyatta was declared winner in the first round of the March 4 General Election.

He had promised to use the money to empower the youth and women through affordable enterprise loans.

The regulations which were debated and approved also agreed to do away with a section that included a member of religious institutions into the board.

Committee on Delegated Legislation chairman William Cheptumo moved for the deletion of a regulation that had President Uhuru Kenyatta as the national champion and patron of the fund.

MPs argue that the President’s role should be purely ceremonial and that policy direction be owned by the fund’s board.

The President will instead receive an annual report on the performance of the Fund and review the implementation progress.

“This will shield the President from direct involvement in policy formulation, performance and implementation and also from any consequences of performance and implementation,” said the committee chairman.

Speaker Justin Muturi struck out amendments by Kipkelion MP Joseph Limo seeking to have the Treasury allocate one percent of annual revenues to the fund and another one by Nairobi County Woman Representative Rachael Shebesh to expand the membership of the Uwezo Fund Management Committee by two more members.

In his communication, Muturi said he will not entertain amendments with financial implications on the Executive.
Cheptumo also wanted MPs to manage the fund from July 2014.

The regulations states that three percent of the money would be spent on administration costs and Sh500 million in capacity- building.

Seventy percent of the balance would be shared equally among the 290 constituencies while 25 percent would be shared based on the poverty index.

In each constituency a fifth of the allocation would be reserved for religious groups, 75 percent for registered groups and five percent for individuals.

The groups should have between five and 15 members, and have been in existence for at least six months to get preference.

The fund would be modelled on table banking and be overseen by a board, supported by a secretariat.

End of update

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The Uwezo Fund in Kenya is a youth and women’s fund which has its genesis in the pledge His Excellency the President Uhuru Kenyatta made to allocate the Kshs. 6 billion that was meant for the presidential run-off to youth and women groups. Its objectives are:

  1. To expand access to finance through grants and credit to promote youth and women businesses and enterprises at the constituency level, thereby enhancing economic growth towards the realization of the goals of Vision 2030;
  2. To generate gainful self-employment for Kenyan youth and women;
  3. To model an alternative framework in funding community driven development.

The Uwezo Fund which provides youth and women access to grants and interest-free loans, as well as mentorship opportunities to enable them take advantage of the 30% government procurement preference for youth, women and persons with disabilities through its Capacity Building Programme.

The principles of Uwezo Fund are:

  1. Representation:  to ensure the inclusion of all Kenyans including women, youth, persons with disabilities, elected parliamentary representatives and respective government officials.
  2. Accountability: to ensure government is held responsible to the citizenry for its decisions and actions.
  3. Accessibility: guaranteeing accessibility at the lowest level of engagement and for the largest category of recipients using a simple, structured and least cost approach.
  4. Economy: use of the best but least cost mechanism to achieve the desired objective.

How to Access Uwezo Fund

Step 1: Sign up for Capacity Building Programme once launched
Step 2: Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria
Step 3: Fill an application form (this form will be available at the Constituency Uwezo Fund Management Committee office and on the Uwezo Fund website)
Step 4: Submit the application form together with relevant documents to the Uwezo Fund Management Committee within your constituency
Step 5: Await notification of the Uwezo Fund Management committee

Frequently Asked Questions about Uwezo Fund

What is Uwezo Fund?

Uwezo Fund stems from the pledge His Excellency the President made to allocate the Kshs. 6 billion that was meant for the presidential run-off to youth and women groups.

Why Uwezo Fund?

The objectives of the Fund are:

  1. To expand access to credit to promote youth and women business and enterprises at the constituency level and thereby enhance economic growth towards the realization of the goals of Vision 2030;
  2. To generate gainful self-employment for the youth and women;
  3. To model an alternative framework in funding community driven development.

Who qualifies as a beneficiary of Uwezo Fund?

Registered Youth and Women groups and Religious Organizations

What is the eligibility criterion for Uwezo Fund?

For women and youth groups to qualify, they must:

  1. Be registered with the Department of Social Services or the Registrar of Societies with a membership of 5 – 15 members.
  2. The youth group membership must be between 18 and 35 years of age. The women’s group must be made up of women.
  3. Preference will be granted to groups that have been in existence for at least six (6) months.
  4. Be based and operating within the Constituency it seeks to make an application for consideration.
  5. Operate a table banking (chama) structure where members make monthly contributions according to the groups’ internal guidelines (evidence of monthly contributions will be a requirement).
  6. Hold a bank account in the name of the group.
  7. Recommended by the Chief of the location.

For religious institutions to qualify, they must be:

  1. Registered entities;
  2. Recommended by the Inter-religious Council of Kenya;
  3. Have listed youth and women groups.

An application to the Uwezo fund shall be accompanied by:

  1. A signed guarantee form executed by each member of the women or youth group individually committing to repay the loan requested by the group.
  2. Individual group member reference letters from recognized leaders in business, religious organizations, national or county government administration in the location validating the member’s credibility.

How will youth and women access Uwezo Fund?

Step 1:         Sign up for Capacity Building Programme once launched
Step 2:         Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria
Step 3:         Fill an application form (this form will be available at the Constituency Uwezo Fund Management Committee office
and on the Uwezo Fund website)
Step 4:         Submit the application form together with relevant documents to the Uwezo Fund Management Committee
within your constituency
Step 5:         Await notification of the Uwezo Fund Management committee

How much money is accessible though Uwezo Fund?

The monies will be payable only to a group, from a minimum of Kshs. 50,000 and not exceeding Kshs 500,000 at a time. The fund will be distributed on a first come first served basis, depending on eligibility of the application. In determining the total amount a group is eligible to receive, the following considerations will be made:

  1. The length of time the group has been in existence;
  2. The total amount contributed by the group;
  3. The current status of contribution;
  4. The proposed plan for the loan.

The repayment period for Uwezo loan will be determined by the following:

  1. The amount of money borrowed;
  2. The size of the group;
  3. The proposed plan for the loan.

Groups will be allowed a 6 month grace period before commencement of repayment of the loan element.
All loans will be payable within 2 years from the end date of the grace period.
Is this the same as Youth Fund or the Women Fund?

No, this is a separate fund but will complement the other two existing Funds.

Is Uwezo loan  interest payable?

No, but a 3% administration fee will be charged.

How do Persons with Disabilities benefit?

Application for funds by Youth and Women living with Disabilities will be given special consideration.

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