tanzanian woman with snake print turban over hear working in fabrics shop.

Research has shown that about 30 percent of registered businesses in Kenya are women-owned, however the majority of the businesses do not have access to financial funding. In Kenya, higher amounts of credit are usually pegged on collateral such as land, yet women account for less than 10 percent of the registered title deeds in Kenya.

One option of empowering women economically is by funding female-owned businesses. In Kenya, women, the youth, and the disabled are exposed to funding opportunities such as The National Government Affirmative Action Fund, Women Enterprise Fund, and Uwezo Fund. 

Uwezo Fund is a flagship program for vision 2030 aimed at enabling women, youth, and persons with disabilities access finances to promote businesses and enterprises at the constituency level. The fund launched by Former President Uhuru Kenyatta September 8, 2013, enhances economic growth by eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and promoting gender equality and women empowerment. 

Since inception, the Uwezo Fund has disbursed more than Sh7.2 billion and directly supported over one million beneficiaries including 69  percent of women and 31 percent of men.

Loans are accessible in all 290 constituencies in Kenya. Women, youth, and people with disability are encouraged to apply by following these steps:

  1. Group must be registered with the relevant government body such as the Department of Social Services, Cooperatives, or the Registrar of Societies body with a valid group registration certificate.
  2. Youth groups must be 70 percent youth aged between 18-35 years and leadership, 100 percent youth.  Women groups should be made up of women aged 18 years and above comprising 70 percent women, and 100 percent women in leadership. Persons with Disabilities, members should be 70 percent PWDs, and 100 percent PWDs in leadership. Also liable are registered institutions that have listed youth, women, and PWDs groups within them.
  3. Groups must be based and operational at the constituency where they seek to make an application. Please note that the applicant group applies for the loan from the constituency, is appraised, and is recommended for funding by the respective Constituency Uwezo Fund Management Committee (CUFMCs).
  4. Groups must operate a table banking structure or any other group fund structure where members make monthly contributions according to the groups’ internal guidelines. Evidence of monthly contributions is a requirement.
  5. Groups must hold a bank account in the name of the group.
  6. Fill an application form from the respective Constituency Uwezo Fund Management Committee office or download the application form from the Uwezo Fund website. 
  7. Submit the application form and relevant documents to the Constituency Uwezo Fund Management Committee office and wait for feedback.