Members of the Lower Chamber of Parliament yesterday demanded for increased government efforts to ensure that women especially at the grassroots access credit that would enable them to start income generating projects.
In reaction to the report presented by the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Dr. Jean d’Arc Mujawamariya, the majority of the lawmakers advocated for increased availability of credit and less stringent procedures involved in the process of acquiring credit.
The minister was presenting a report to the House which had earlier demanded for an investigation into the Women Guarantee Fund, seekingto know its progress and what it has benefited women countrywide.
The Fund was established and placed under the Central Bank with an aim of facilitating women access to finances for their income generating activities.
The facility is meant to support economically active women with no collateral and no credit record by helping them access loans from Banks.
She assured the lawmakers that the fund is working well and has registered tremendous achievements since its establishment.
She noted that the ministry has embarked on a countrywide campaign to sensitise women to form credit unions so that they can benefit more from the fund.
“So far over 6,568 women have managed to receive loans amounting to Rwf 516m. This money has helped them start profitable projects while some of them have advanced to a level of employing other people,” Mujawamariya told the House whose majority is made up of women.
She said that the fund which started on a small scale accumulated to Rwf 539m by 2006 and in 2007 was transformed into a bigger fund managed BNR, instead of the Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR) where it was initially.
It was then agreed that through commercial banks, women or associations that present viable projects are allowed access to credit which they would be required to pay back in a long term.
She added that 767 women in total have been trained and equipped with entrepreneurial skills.
So far in 2009, 82 women (trainers of trainers) have been trained and will be training other women countrywide.