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Lira District Registers Drop in Number of Groups Seeking UWEP Funds

Ronnie Olao, the District’s UWEP coordinator attributed the reduction in the number of groups to failure by the first groups to pay back despite being a revolving fund.

Audio 4

The number of applicants seeking funds under the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program (UWEP) in the Lira District has reduced.

UWEP started its implementation in the 2015/2016 financial year to mainly empower the most vulnerable women for entrepreneurship development and increase household incomes.

This would be achieved through the provision of zero interest credit under a revolving fund mechanism, promotion of appropriate technologies for improved production and value addition and capacity building.

In Lira, the program started in the 2016/2017 financial year with 52 women groups and a total of 705 members. This first phase received a grant amounting to 227 Million Shillings.

During its second phase in the 2018/2019 financial year, the government released 222 Million Shillings to 45 groups with 607 members.

Similarly, there was also a drop in the number of women groups seeking funds from 45 to 28 in the financial year 2018/2019 and 2020/2021 respectively.

Ronnie Olao, the District’s UWEP coordinator attributed the reduction in the number of groups to failure by the first groups to pay back despite being a revolving fund.  He says that it is the responsibility of the groups to ensure that they refund the money so that other new groups can also benefit.

According to Olao, the delay in paying back the funds causes delays in funding the next groups.

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He was, however, notes that no penalties are being levied on groups who failed to pay.

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Caroline Ajwang, the chairperson of Par Pii Ayim, a Women Group which will be getting the funds this year is excited that the interest rate is small and affordable.

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Santa Akullo, the treasurer for Coorom Women Group said they shall attain a lot of profit from the UWEP fund that can help them pay for their children school fees among others and buy valuable properties for their homes.

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Last week, the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija bowed to pressure and retained the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program (UWEP) fund for women and Youth Livelihood funds under the Ministry of Gender Labor and social development. 

This was after he introduced to MPs, a proposal for the Parish development model seeking to economically empower Ugandans at the parish level.

The model is a strategy being fronted by the Government in the next financial year for organizing and delivering public and private sector interventions for wealth creation and employment generation at the parish level as the lowest economic planning unit.

Kasaija said that the youth and women funds will remain under the Ministry of Gender over a transition period to the parish model and this will last for two financial years. He pleaded in vain for members to approve the funding.

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