KENYA WOMEN HOLDING CHANGES TO ECHO NETWORK AFRICA (ENA)

STRONG LEADERSHIP: Dr.Jennifer Riria.
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Kenya Women Holding (KWH) was registered in March 1982 as Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT) Ltd. The aim of the institution was to lobby and advocate for women’s financial inclusion as well as to facilitate women entrepreneurs to access financial and non-financial services to enable them improve their economic status and livelihoods.
The organization continued to discharge this until 2009 when the Central Bank of Kenya issued new guidelines for governing financial institutions in the country. This resulted in the evolvement of two institutions:  KWH and Kenya Women Finance Trust –  Deposit Taking Microfinance (KWFT-DTM) which has since become a fully fledged microfinance  bank. In July 2009, KWFT applied for a change of name to Kenya Women Holding KWH and was issued with a certificate of registration dated 8Th July 2009.
In April 2010, KWH successfully registered a wholly owned subsidiary deposit taking micro finance company (KWFT-DTM) to continue with the mandate of providing financial services in compliance with CBK regulations. By December 2014, KWH had reduced its shareholding g of the microfinance bank from 100% to 25% in compliance with CBK regulations hence making the latter an associate company and not a wholly owned subsidiary as was the case in 2010. On its part, KWH continued to provide development services for empowering, positioning and advocating for a peaceful and inclusive society while the KWFT-DTM remained an independent financial institution regulated by CBK.
The decision by the board to recommend the change of name of the institution from Kenya Women Holding to Echo Network Africa has been primarily necessitated by the need to address the confusion that existed between the two institutions – KWFT microfinance bank and KWH.  Before this development, very few stakeholders were able to distinguish between the two institutions and what their respective mandates were.
Going forward, as each institution continues to grow, it is important that it gains its own identity and branding in order to deliver on its mandate more effectively. On its part, Echo Network Africa will continue working with women, youth and persons with disabilities to spur development, while the microfinance bank will continue to offer financial services. In addition to change of name, KWH will free its resources to drive its mandate of empowering women, youth and persons with disabilities to take greater responsibilities for their own destinies. KWH will also be in a better position to catalyze development across the region in a more sustainable way, while maintaining the vision, mission and principles that have made the organization what it is today:  a  major player in  the provision of financial and development services as well as an advocate for a peaceful and inclusive society in which women, youth and persons with disabilities have equal opportunities to pursue and realize their dreams.

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