Deputy President William Ruto has asked the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs to work with Parliament in amending the regulation that requires a minimum of 100 women to form a group to be funded.
He gave an ultimatum of two months, a move that is likely to incentivise the formation of more women groups in the country.
Unlike the youth who only require 25 members, the regulations demand that 100 women do to be recognized.
Speaking in Kasarani Stadium, during the presentation of cheques worth Sh112.5 million to women and youth groups in Nairobi County, the Deputy President said that by congregating in groups, women and youths stand to benefit from synergies.
At the same time, Mr Ruto asked Parliament to review its decision to slash funds meant for the National Youth Service.
The Deputy President said it was unfortunate that the NYS budget had been slashed by Parliament at a time when the program was being expanded to benefit more youth.
He said NYS was being transformed to curb mismanagement and embezzlement.
Mr Ruto said: “I want to persuade Members of Parliament we should not criminalize and demonize NYS because of the challenges it has had.”
He added: “NYS can be reformed, NYS will be reformed and we will make it compliant so that there is no more corruption.”
Present were Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Prof Margaret Kobia, her Chief Administrative Secretary Rachel Shebesh and Sport and Culture Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa.
Others were MPs Johnstone Sakaja (Nairobi), Mercy Gakuya (Kasarani), Esther Passaris (Nairobi), George Theuri (Embakasi West), Waihenya Ndirangu (Roysambu), Charles Kanyi ( Starehe), Benjamin Gathiru (Embakasi Central) and Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati).
Prof Kobia who called for the resuscitation of the NYS echoed the Deputy President’s sentiments, saying the program has benefited many youth across the country.
She said: “Let us not punish youth for the mistakes of some of us.”
Mr Ruto said the government’s vision was anchored on the belief that women should be involved on equal footing with their male counterparts in leadership and decision-making.
It is on this thinking, he said, that the Jubilee administration has prioritized Women Empowerment and Gender Equality and put enormous resources in it.
“This is in recognition of the critical and important role Kenyan women play in our development,” said Mr Ruto.
Shebesh called for the increase of Women Representatives funds from the current Sh 7 Million to Sh 20 Million.
Ms Passaris said there was need to synchronize affirmative funds to one so that it can benefit more Kenyans.
The Nairobi Women Representative said some requirements set for women to access Women Fund have become a stumbling block for many women.
Ms Passaris said: “ We need to find a way to ensure we do not leave anyone behind.”
Mr Sakaja lauded the move by Government to include Nairobi among the marginalized regions so that it can benefit from the Marginalization Fund.
He said: “Poverty in urban areas is worse than poverty in rural areas. Unemployed individuals in Nairobi are facing extreme poverty.”
Mr Echesa asked Members of Parliament to ensure the Ministry of Sport has enough funds to construct the much-needed stadiums.
Mr Kanyi said affirmative funds have transformed the lives of many youth and women especially those in groups.
He said: “We will continue educating women and youth so that they can know these funds are available for them.”
Ms Kobia appealed to youth and women to take advantage of the various affirmative funds saying such opportunities will not come knocking at their doors
Since inception of the Affirmative Action Funds, Sh31 billion has been transferred to small and medium-sized enterprises, providing support to about 15 million people across the country.
Uwezo Fund had disbursed more than Sh5.8 billion to an estimated 960,000 beneficiaries while the Women Enterprise Fund had benefitted over one million women with Sh13 billion. The Fund, he added, now boasts of an average loan repayment rate of 94 per cent.
Moreover, women and youths present in the function dubbed Huduma Mashinani heard that the Youth Enterprise Development Fund had disbursed more than Sh12.4 billion to over one million youths across the country.
Statistics show that since the inception of Women Enterprise Fund and the Uwezo Fund, Nairobi County has received a cumulative total of Sh899 billion.
Uwezo Fund has benefitted 42,599 individuals while the Women Enterprise Fund has benefitted 4,328 groups.