April 18, 2009

Every time a report on the figures on HIV& AIDS is done, the number of women infected is always higher than that of men. Have you ever wondered why? Statistics showing that men display more risky sexual behaviors than their female counterparts, for example if men are said to have more sexual partners, how comes more women are infected?

In trying to explain this observation, Dr.Mamy, a doctor from Madagascar speaking at a youth and sexuality workshop at the Kenya youth summit at Lenana School gave various reasons. He divided the reasons into two categories; physiological and socio-economic reasons. Among the latter category the reasons listed were,

  • The viral load in semen is higher than in vaginal mucus.
  • The vaginal membrane is thinner than penile tissue
  • Semen remains longer in the vagina.
  • Young women are more prone to micro lesions.

From the socio-economic perspective, these are the reasons given;

  • Women accept pain and discomfort.
  • Social pressure to bear children.
  • Vulnerability of younger women/adolescents.
  • Women lack knowledge in sexual issues and are unable to express their opinions on such.
  • Inability to negotiate for safe sex.

The only way to deal with this grave situation is to empower women to be able to take up more active roles in sexual relations and issues that surround them.


Equity Bank gives Youths a lifeline.

April 18, 2009

Story by Benjamin Gachoka

Under the bank’s slogan, “we listen to the customer,” the plenary of youth attending the youth peace summit conference from different walks of life was all ears as the bank’s credit managers David Mukaru and Belinda unmasked the myth behind their products. In the same light, the youth were also given a chance after the presentation to ask questions pertaining to loans products.

This products aims  to uplift the socio-economic status of the community. Equity bank in this respect has partnered with the government in managing the Youth Development Fund which is now known as the vijana biashara loan  an endeavor targeting the youth.

According to the credit officers, youth are eligible for loans only when they have registered with the Ministry of Social Services and form a group comprised of 15 -30 members who must be holders of ID cards and hold a common account with the bank. The youth in Kenya are considered to be between 15- 35 years old. The group will meet the bank officials for entrepreneurial training and appraisal among members.

The first loan offered amounts to Kshs. 30,000 within repayment of 6 months. After the bank has established due payment and accountability of the group, further loans of Kshs. 50,000,70,000 up to  100,000 can be awarded.

Interest rates vary from 0.6% per month, 8%

per year, and 4% per 6 months.

To cover the groups incases of accidents or death, the bank offers an insurance payment of 0.275% which David Mukaru the Equity credit manager terms as a “benefit” to its clients rather than a just another added cost also to avoid passing on the liability to other family members upon the death of the loanee.

The bank also clarifies that 30% of the group’s members can be above 35 years of age. This translates to13 of each group members should already be running existent micro businesses, while 10% can be starters.