KITUI, Kenya May 14 – A total of Sh292 million from national government empowerment kitty has been released to Youth, Women and people living with disabilities groups in Kitui County since the empowerment kitty started in the country. The national government has been releasing the empowerment funds to the targeted beneficiaries through Uwezo and Youth funds. The empowerment fund is aimed at assisting the beneficiaries to economically uplift their standards of living by creating jobs in self-employment opportunities. Kitui County Manager of Uwezo fund kitty Mr Thomas Kyoyo while speaking to KNA in his office, disclosed that for the last seven years, the County Uwezo kitty has distributed Sh24,120, 000 to 110 youth groups projects, 195 women groups income generating activities and also 9 groups of people living with disabilities’ economic ventures. “Uwezo empowerment funds is a soft loan and does not attract any interest and the groups are given a duration of two years to repay the same amount. Since its a revolving fund, once repayment is done, the money is loaned out to another needy group,” said Kyoyo Kyoyo highlighted requirements needed and are mandatory for a group in order be able to apply as well as be considered for the funds. “A group should be registered with the office of Culture and Social Services, the group should be local based and operational at the constituency it seeks to make an application. It should be operating as well as active in a table banking structure and hold a bank account in the name of the group,” said Kyoyo. The Uwezo empowerment fund was established via legal notice no. 21 of 22st February, 2014- Public Finance Management Regulation and was launched by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 8th, 2013. Similarly, the Youth fund empowerment kitty has also been imitating the Uwezo funds objectives thus disbursing over Sh270 million up to date since it was established, the year 2007. Speaking to KNA, the Youth Fund Officer Julius Mutambaa said the disbursement is done to Youths groups and also to individual youths. It also trains the youth on entrepreneurial management skills to help them invest and manage the funds wisely. “Since inception of the youth fund, we have disbursed youth funds loans of over 270 million shillings to 2450 groups and 22,000 individual youths,” said Mutambaa. It was gazetted on 8th December 2006 and later transformed to a State corporation on 11th may 2007. Its strategic focus is on enterprise development that will increase economic opportunities for the Kenyan youth in nation building. The fund seeks to create employment opportunities for young people through entrepreneurship and encourage them to be job creators. It also provides affordable financial business development for the youth. He added that the youth funds beneficiaries were trained on entrepreneurial management for wise investment of the soft loan. However, Mutambaa said repayment and interest terms of the youth loans were different among the beneficiaries, that is youth groups’ loan and that of individuals’ loans. “Youth groups repay the funds without interests while individuals repay loans with minimal interest of 6% per annum,” said Mutambaa. He further noted that in both loans, after repayment of the total amount successfully and in line with loans repayment terms and conditions, then the amount of loan one could borrow is doubled.