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Thika Youth Top Nationally in Youth Fund Repayment Rate.

CS Cecily Kariuki and Thika MP Alice Ng'ang'a presenting sh. 5 million Uwezo Fund cheque to chairpersons of beneficiary groups in Thika Stadium.

Thika Town Constituency has been ranked top of its Youth Fund loan repayment list, beating all the other 289 electoral units at 92.5% with the national loan repayment average stands at 76%. This means that new youth groups in the constituency have an opportunity to benefit from the repaid funds.

This was revealed by Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Cecily Kanini Kariuki at the Thika Stadium when she presented cheques worth sh. 14.95 million to youth groups and women. Thika women too are ranked among the top constituencies that have repaid the highest amount of loans advanced to them under the Women Enterprise Fund with an average repayment rate of 97%.

However, she CS pointed out that the same wasn’t the case for those who had applied for the Uwezo Fund who she said performed poorly at 64.9% and urging them to emulate their counterparts in the other funds.

“I presume that when the president said that they would use the money saved for a re-run election in 2013, the youth assumed that it was a token appreciation from the government for voting them in and therefore spent it without repaying back. Just like both the Youth and Women Funds, Uwezo Fund is a revolving fund and envisages that constituencies will revolve amounts repaid to groups so as to benefit more groups. Please repay these loans so that your brothers and sisters benefit as you did,” said the CS.

In total, Sh. 87 million has already been disbursed for loaning to women, youth and persons with disabilities since inception, with sh. 37 million benefiting 65 youth groups under the Youth Fund, 146 youth groups getting sh. 17 million (Uwezo) and sh. 33 million going to Thika Women under the Women Enterprise Fund.

On this day, cheques worth sh. 5.2 million, sh. 6.8 million and sh. 2.8 million were disbursed to 65 youth groups (Youth Fund), 114 groups (Uwezo) and 11 women groups (Women Enterprise Fund) respectively.

Kariuki said that these funds were set up by the Government to benefit women and youth aged above 18 years, whether as part of a group (those famous chamas) or as individuals. They were established as an affirmative action fund to save the Kenyan women and youth who had been marginalised for ages by financial institutions due to lack of collateral and capital, high cost of credit, low financial literacy, limited access to markets, high transactions costs, long distances to formal financial institutions, fear of loans, religious and cultural factors

On the National Youth Service Programme, the CS notified the audience that Thika cohorts had already saved a total of sh. 64.8 million under four SACCOs, money that they will use to start their own businesses.

“This is a great leap towards youth empowerment considering the fact that these young men and women were previously jobless and with no hope for tomorrow. They have now been trained on SACCO management. We are going to train them on entrepreneurship and we will hold their hands until they establish themselves in business enterprises. We will also guide them through taking advantage of the 30% government tender affirmative action for the youth and women,” said Kariuki.

Area MP affirmed that 1553 people had benefitted from the funds in her constituency and it was her prayer that this money would empower more people out of poverty. She said that she was happy that the money loaned to these people would go a long way in easing some of the challenges she was facing in the disbursement of the CDF bursaries as the empowerment would now reduce the number of people in need of bursary assistance.

“Since time in memorial, there has never been such an occasion in Thika to issue people with money to start businesses. This is so great and I really thank the government for this kitty. It is very true that people have benefitted from this money. I am a witness myself when I visited women groups that have succeeded in greenhouse projects. When these people are empowered, they will let others to benefit from the school bursaries I have been extending to their children, thus enabling us to assist more needy people,” said Alice.

A 2017 Kiambu Women Representative aspirant Gathoni Wa Muchomba appealed to the CS and her team to set aside some amount of money to cater for cancer and HIV patients who she said, needed so much nutritional and medical attention.

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