Cigarette manufacturer BAT Kenya has rolled out a Sh10 million financial programme targeting women–owned businesses contracted by the firm in a bid to expand their ventures.
Dubbed Rural Women’s Development Programme (RuWDeP), the initiative aims to boost the lives of over 1,600 women from Oyani and Malakisi tobacco leaf-growing communities in Migori and Bungoma counties respectively.
Launched on March 8, BAT Kenya says the programme which is expected to run for an initial period of three years is part of its commitment to creating shared value in the communities it operates even as it seeks to scale up small and medium enterprises.
RuWDeP will be rolled out in three phases, with the first kicking off with 285 women, and extending to 1,387 women in subsequent phases.
“As part of our Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) platform Ustawi, BAT Kenya is committed to delivering a positive impact by working with various stakeholders to empower Kenyans in its value chain. We believe that this rural women’s development programme is an ideal vehicle to not only transform the lives of our farmers but also support them to build sustainable livelihoods,” said Mimi Mavuti, head of corporate affairs for BAT Kenya & East African Markets.