Gov't restarts suspended WEE programme

FRANCISTOWN: The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Kebonye Moepeng says government is reviewing the Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) programme with a view to restarting it.

Speaking at the seventh Northern Women’s Expo on Tuesday, Moepeng said prior to its suspension two years ago, the WEE programme had thus far benefitted over 3,000 women since its inception in 1998.

WEE helps women groups with seed money to start their own income generation projects, up to a maximum of P250,000 per group. Groups have to have a minimum of five members and a maximum of 10. While men can be included in the groups, women must always comfortably outnumber them.

“The review is being done in order to improve implementation of the programme as well as promote return on investment,” the permanent secretary told a large crowd of women entrepreneurs gathered for the Expo.

“We are also going to start monitoring and evaluating the WEE projects so that they can thrive.”

The permanent secretary said the biggest problem that dogged the WEE prior to its suspension was the abuse of funds by beneficiaries.

“Our biggest mistake was to give the beneficiaries all the money for their projects and some of them ended up misusing the funds for personal reasons. 

“We are going to start directing the funding of WEE projects onto segments of production so that the capital invested can be directed straight to production not personal use,” she said. The Ministry suspended WEE disbursements due to lack of funds, two years ago, Moepeng told the audience.

Applications continued rolling in however. “We also didn’t have enough funds for the approved projects, but I can now confirm that we managed to source funds to reduce the backlog,” she said.

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