More than 3,000 people have benefited from over Sh30 million worth of Uwezo Funds from the Thika NG/CDF for the last five years, area MP Patrick Wainaina has said.
The funds have transformed the lives of over 500 groups, mostly from the slums who have put up investments worth millions of shillings and helped drive away poverty from the area.
One such group is the Biwa Self Help group that has used the funds to purchase two acre of land to grow rice in Mwea, Kirinyaga County. They expect to get good proceeds in the coming years from their investment.
“It has been a long journey of finding our footing out of poverty, but through the Uwezo fund, our dreams are now slowly being fulfilled. In a year, we shall be making good money from our investment,” said Tabitha Wa Maitha, the group chair.
The Kiandutu self-help group has used the funds to purchase a piece of land to grow oranges and mangoes.
The trees will mature next year; they expect to begin harvesting with the hope of making a break-through financially.
Chairlady Pauline Wanjiru said through the proceeds from selling the fruits, they expect to establish other businesses which would help them out of the slums.
Another group has benefitted from 10 washing machines from NG/CDF and the Jungle Foundation and has been receiving contracts of washing clothes for clients, schools and hotels.
The group, out of poverty, used to wash clothes for clients in their houses and could be paid about Sh400 once a week.
However, they now make more than Sh20, 000 monthly each and some of them have even secured loan and started their own cloth washing enterprises.
“I’m also proud of another group that secured Uwezo fund and a loan from Jungle Foundation and leased an acre of land for 15 years. It set up 40 bedsitter rentals charging Sh7,500 each and is now making more than Sh3.1million monthly,” he said while issuing Sh6 million Uwezo funds to 32 groups in Thika today.
The MP who is vying for the Kiambu Gubernatorial seat said Uwezo fund has the potential to change several lives if well utilized and when only deserving cases benefit from the funds.
“We have made sure that before a group benefits from the funds, they are thoroughly vetted to establish that they have meaningful projects. Before I took over, only a few individuals benefited from the funds, limiting chances of deserving cases,” he said.