Local NGOs linking women and youth groups to financial institutions

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By Kelvin Tembo

Help a Child (HAC) together with their partners Word Alive Commission for Relief and Development (WACRAD) and Livingstonia Synod AIDS Program (LISAP) have embarked on an initiative aimed at linking women and youth groups they are working with in Mzimba and Nkhata Bay to financial lending institutions in their women and youths economic empowerment drive.

HAC, WACRAD and LISAP have been working with the groups called Self-Help Groups through their Youth and Work Pillar for the past six years where they have been promoting agribusiness and other economic empowerment ventures.

The ventures have been successful in transforming lives of women and youths in the two districts but despite the success, HAC’s Programs Manager for Youth and Work Sungeni Ng’onamo told Capital FM that the groups are still facing limitations to grow bigger in their businesses as their capital is less for them to do so hence linking them to financial institutions.

“National wide we all know that financial linkages are becoming of more relevance. We have got a lot of women and youth groups and these groups are operating Self-Help groups doing different businesses but their financial muscle capital is very less for them to grow bigger,” Ng’onamo said.

“Despite having less capital we felt that these groups are growing, and as they are growing they need to start operating as grown up businesses. To do that we thought they can be using their savings as Loan Security Savings (LSS) to access higher amounts of money to financial institutions to boost their business capital,” he said.

Among the financial institutions the groups are being linked to, are those lending cash as well as those giving out farm inputs on loan as the groups are involved in both selling of different commodities and farming.

The financial institutions are taken right in the rural areas as a way of reaching out to the groups’ right at their door step so that no one is left behind and that the groups can identify themselves with financial service providers and access finances that suits their businesses.

A member from one of the groups, Umoza Self Help Group Judith Mwandira welcomed the initiative saying it will go a long way in easing the challenges they have been facing in accessing loans to boost their businesses.

“I am really happy to hear about these opportunities that have been presented to us by these financial institutions. I am interested in the news about farm inputs because looking at what we do in our group, this opportunity will really make our group grow,” Mwandira said.



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