UWEP will provide unemployed women, widows, survivors of gender based violence, women living with HIV, women heading households and women in hard to reach areas with affordable credit, technical advice, information on value addition and market access for goods and services.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda told the media that the 170billion Shillings programme, which runs from the last quarter of the 2015/16 financial year, is to enable women create wealth by boosting their entrepreneurship capabilities.
It will provide unemployed women, widows, survivors of gender based violence, women living with HIV, women heading households and women in hard to reach areas with affordable credit, technical advice, information on value addition and market access for goods and services.
UWEP will target women aged 18 to 65 years in groups of between 10 and 15 members in all 111 districts plus Kampala Capital City Authority. Women over 65 years will be catered for under the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) Programme.
Rugunda said the beneficiaries shall be identified and selected through community-based approaches in close collaboration with district and lower local governments. Beneficiaries will be selected by district and sub-county technical planning committees.
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Rugunda said the funds under UWEP will be administered with zero interest. He said the programme is crucial because women form 86 percent of the informal sector and are financially excluded, hence limiting their capacity to grow and expand their businesses.
Rugunda added that increased access to affordable credit through UWEP will stimulate growth of high quality goods and services and increase the competitive edge of women's micro, small and medium enterprises.
Programme documents seen by Uganda Radio Network indicate that three billion Shillings have been allocated to cater for 19 districts for the rest of this financial year.
Rugunda said starting financial year 2016/17 53 billion Shillings will be allocated for the programme through three financial years.
Rugunda adds that government has picked lessons and strengthened all weak areas from its previous programmes to ensure that the UWEP is successful.
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Former Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka, who is one of the architects of the programme, said the women groups will act as security for the monies given out.
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Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, said UWEP is modeled on the relatively functioning Youth Livelihood Programme with, as he put it, "watertight verification and evaluation systems".