Empowering The Youth To Be Job Creators

Uwezo Fund: All You Need To Qualify

For my fellow youth who've been wondering where to get a loan to fund that brilliant project, there is no more worry.

His Excellence the President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Kshs. 6 Billion Uwezo fund this month  which is meant to help youth and women groups access funds as start-up capital for small and micro business. I'm basically doing this article to explain what you need to access the loans and to urge more youth to take advantage of these funds.

If you're new to this fund, it comes from the Kshs. 6 Billion originally put aside by the government to facilitate the presidential run off on April, which the President pledged to allocate to the youth and women groups. That has come to pass.

Main Key Features About Uwezo Fund

  •  Money is only payable to groups, not an individual.
  •  The loans range between Kshs. 50,000 - Kshs. 500,000.
  •  Interest rates will be set annually and will be charged between 0%-1%. For 2013/2014 program, the interest rate is 0%.
  •  Only a one-off 3% administration fee required for each loan.
  •  The fund is accessed locally at the constituency level
  • Allows a link to 30% public procurement and reservations for youth and women groups.

Who's Eligible?

Uwezo fund can only be accessed by registered Youth and Women groups, and religious organizations.

Way of Disbursement

The funds shall be disbursed at the constituency level, governed by Uwezo Fund committees established alongside the Constituency Development Fund framework. Each of these committees shall also comprise of a youth and women representative.

The role of the committees is to assess the applicants business plans, grant loan approvals and monitor the use of the funds disbursed for accountability.

What Your Group Needs To Qualify

Not all groups are going to benefit from this fund; every group will fast go through a check up by the committee to assess their qualifications. 

For a Youth or Women group, these are the requirement:
  •  Your group must be registered with either the Registrar of Societies or Department of Social Services.
  •  Youth group must have 5 and 15 members of age between 18 and 35 years Old. For a women group, all members must be women.
  • At least 6 months of existence (such groups will have preference)
  • Your group must be operating within the constituency you're applying from.
  •  Must hold a bank account in the name of the group.
  •  Your group must have a recommendation from the area Chief.
  •  Be operating a table banking structure commonly known as chama, where members make a monthly contribution.

 Any religious Institution that desires to meet the requirements must:
  •  Be a registered entity
  •  Be recommended by Inter-religious Council of Kenya, and
  •  have youth and women groups which are listed.

A MUST Note:

The application you make to Uwezo Fund Committee MUST be accompanied by the following two important documents:

1. A guarantee form signed individually by each group member. This is a binding commitment for each member to repay the loan requested.

2. Each member's reference letter from recognized leaders in national or county government administration, religious organizations or business in the area validating the credibility of the member.

What Determines The Amount of Money Your Group Receives

The first come first serve rule will apply on fund allocation. Upon the committee's approval of your legibility, the following factors will determine how much your group will manage to net from the kitty.
  •  The total amount the group has contributed.
  •  Your group's current status of contribution (how much, consistency)
  •  The plan on loan usage
  •  How long your group has been existing

Loan Repayment Period

Before starting to repay, groups will be given a 6-month grace period. All loans will be repaid within 2 years from the end date of grace period.
The repayment period will be determined by 3 factors: The amount of the loan, group size and the plan you've proposed for the loan.

Added Bonus

Upon approval, your group will be taken through capacity building to ensure you have all it takes to make good use of the funds. The Training includes gaining skills, knowledge and even the market links you need to make it in your respective project. Out of the Kshs. 6 Billion, Kshs. 500 million has been set aside to facilitate this exercise and qualified parties will be contracted for the job.

Farther more, the National Champion of Uwezo Fund, the President, has promised to establish an annual award scheme for successful businesses funded by Uwezo fund, a move aimed at giving this project a boost by encouraging the youth and women to take there part.

What More?

If you are in a registered group (like me..lol!) , thank God and take a step. If not yet, it's still too early, go ahead and form one and register; it's really easy. Next week I'm doing an article to give you the ABC's of registering a Chama. Don't miss out. But meanwhile, find out how you can do it, time is moving!

It's up to us to put our best foot forward. Uwezo Fund is such a brilliant idea, if well utilized, it will definitely transform our economy and even create more bigger opportunities. But it takes a good pulling from both parties: The Government(administration) and the beneficiaries. If I may quote the President, "AHADI KWETU, KAZI KWAKO"

If you need more information about Uwezo Fund please feel free ask through this blog, or you can as well visit the Uwezo website www.uwezo.co.ke. You can also visit their Facebook page (Uwezo Fund) or twitter (@uwezofund)

May your group overcome the huddles!..lol..All the best!