Microloan Foundation empowers 30 Kalomo Women Solidarity Groups with Momo

Microloan Foundation is implementing New Mobile Money Services for Rural Women Project in Eastern and Southern Provinces of Zambia with support from the Rural Finance Expansion Programme (RUFEP). The two year project (September 2017-August 2019) which is targeting 4,500 beneficiaries has been funded by RUFEP under the Agency and Mobile Banking Window of the Innovation and Outreach Facility (IOF).

In Kalomo District, Southern Province, Microloan Foundation has trained 30 Women Solidarity Groups by September 2018 on business management, savings and to transact and pay back their group loans using Mobile Money (MoMo).

With an average group membership ranging between 10 and 20, Microloan has made it compulsory for all women solidarity group members to have MoMo accounts for them to access their individual loans.

On the 26th September 2018, RUFEP visited Microloan Foundation in Kalomo, Southern province as part of Monitoring and Evaluation field visits to assess progress by the implementing partner. Three Women Solidarity Groups were visited in Kalomo’s Mawaya Compound, at the main market and Road Block Area.

Speaking during the conducted field visits by RUFEP, Head of Microloan Foundation Branch in Kalomo Gideon Tembo disclosed that there was no other way of accessing loans from Microloan Foundation apart from using Mobile Money.

“We teach women solidarity groups to use MoMo. We urge them to buy MTN Sim cards and have them registered under their names and upon verification, we submit their details to Chipata (Head Office) where loan disbursements are done to their mobile money accounts”, Mr. Tembo said.

He added that the mobile payment solution has been a success for Microloan Foundation as it has averted the risky of carrying cash and making deposits through banks by Loan Officers.

Before the loan is disbursed, the Women Solidarity Groups are trained on business management skills, savings, and how to transact with mobile money using their mobile phones.

Chabota Women Solidarity Group is one of the Solidarity Groups visited by the RUFEP Team in Kalomo’s Road Block Area and trained to transact using MoMo by Microloan Foundation.

Group Leader Gloria Miyanda Daha disclosed that women face various challenges in their homes which compelled them to form Solidarity Groups to assist each other financially and to put food on the table.

Gloria said following the formation of Chabota Women’s Solidarity group with 10 members, the group approached Microloan Foundation in Kalomo for a loan to assist members to engage in income generating activities to support their families.

Microloan Foundation Kalomo Branch trained the Chabota Women’s Solidarity Group on business management, savings and how to transact using mobile money. Following the training, Microloan Foundation disbursed their group loan electronically to all the 10 group members’ mobile money accounts.


Chabota Women Solidarity Group members are happy with the benefits of using mobile money as they do not need to walk to the bank to do their cash transactions. To cash their electronic loan, all they need is to walk to an MTN booth to convert their loan into cash.

Group member Loxin Simanyanga said initially women had a challenge learning how to use their mobile phones to transact but now they are beginning to appreciate the benefits of using mobile money.

Mrs. Simanyanga said mobile money saves time for women to engage in productive ventures instead of spending time to que in the bank to cash their loan and to deposit loan payments to Microloan Foundation.

Microloan Foundation Regional Supervisor (Southern) Samuel Banda said the adoption of mobile payments solutions has brought efficiency for his organization in terms of loan management and record keeping.

Mr. Banda said electronic disbursements have simplified loan portfolio management as records are updated immediately on the system and on the customer’s mobile phone adding that electronic payments have also reduced shortages (missing cash) which are common with cash transactions.

Commenting on the progress of New Mobile Money Services for Rural Women Project by Microloan Foundation in Southern Province, RUFEP Coordinator Michael Mbulo commended the implementing partner for empowering women with loans using mobile money.

Mr. Mbulo said mobile money payments have not only brought efficiency for Microloan Foundation but also for the Women’s Solidarity groups as it has changed the way they conduct their business activities which is much quicker.

“It is good to see groups in Kalomo now transacting using mobile money which is quicker and much safer than cash. This has brought efficiency and reduced their time to do their activities and transactions”, he said.

Muzoka Savings Group pays back Vision Fund loan using Mobile Money

Muzoka Farmers Club and Savings Group in Pemba District of Southern Province has requested Vision Fund for a second loan with an increased amount after successfully paying back the first loan on time.

Consisting of 24 members (8 men and 16 women), Muzoka Farmers Club and Savings Group accessed their first loan amounting to ZMW5, 000 from VisionFund Zambia Limited in January 2018 which was paid back with interest at 5.5% by March 2018 through Airtel Money.

The loan from VisionFund and the cash in the box (ZMW10, 000) which amounted to ZMW15, 000 was loaned out to group members who engaged in income generating activities and payed back the loan to the group with interest at 20%.

Muzoka Savings Group Chairperson Lewis Chimbwali said the group looked forward to VisionFund to increase the loan threshold so that they could venture into a much bigger business to raise more money as a group.

“We need a bigger loan from VisionFund so that we could engage into a business venture that could raise more money for the group. We have the potential as we never faced any challenge to pay back the first loan despite the one month delay by VisionFund to disburse the first loan to us”, Mr Chimbwali said.

He disclosed that the group assessed each members’ potential based on their savings in the box and their business idea to come up with the loan amounts for each individual member and to ensure there was no defaulting.

“The principle is that if one member fails to pay back, the entire group is liable to pay back the full loan amount wit interest to VisionFund. So far all the members have managed to pay back their loans. We paid back the loan to VisionFund through Airtel Money as their offices are far”, Mr. Chimbwali said.

The group disclosed that a total of ZMW32, 616 was shared out to group members as loans during the second share out which was held on the 18th September, 2018. RUFEP and VisionFund staff visited the group on the 25th September, 2018.

RUFEP Programme Coordinator Michael Mbulo informed the Muzoka Savings Group that the programme’s main objective is to ensure that rural people have access to and use of sustainable financial services.

“RUFEP is a programme of the Government of the Republic of Zambia in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Here in Southern Province we work through implementing partners such as VisionFund to ensure rural areas have access to financial services”, Mr. Mbulo said.

He added that RUFEP was working with VisionFund under the Innovation and Outreach Facility (IOF)’s Agency and Mobile Banking Window to promote access to financial services through mobile money payment solutions.

“For you to pay back your loan you do not need to travel to Monze with cash to Vision Fund offices. All you need is your mobile phone to make you loan payments through mobile money which saves you time and transport costs”, Mr. Mbulo said.

VITALITE trains 30 Agents to promote Digital Payments in Southern Province

Vitalite has trained 30 agents in Southern Province to promote use of digital financial services for making payments for their energy efficient products in Mazabuka and Monze districts.

The Agents distribute Vitalite Solar products and cooking stoves (Malasha Saving Mbaulas) targeted at rural people which are hire purchased to rural customers and payed back in monthly installments using digital payment solutions.

Certified agents collect payments from customers which are deposited in the Vitalite bill-pay account using Airtel and MTN Mobile money which is automatically credited to their account (PAYGO).

Vitalite accessed a matching grant from RUFEP under Agency and Mobile Banking to pilot and promote digital payments solutions using mobile money.

In Mazabuka rural, about 7 Vitalite are currently active servicing Magoye, Chikankata, Lubombo, Kabanje, Chivuna and Mbuyamusuma rural areas.

Vitalite Mazabuka Sales Representative Ephraim Mukwesa disclosed that once an agent makes the payment on behalf the customer, their account is automatically updated and an SMS will indicate the amount payed for the product and the balance on their phone.

Speaking when a RUFEP Team conducted field visits of implementing partners in Southern Province, Mr. Mukwesa said customers were expected to make direct payments through mobile money but currently there are no Airtel or MTN agents in the targeted rural areas.

He said Vitalite recruited agents to distribute Vitalite products and collect payments because they are closer to the target market and knows the people who are able to pay.

Mr. Golden Lwiindi is an agro dealer in Mbuyamusuma rural and is one the certified agents for Vitalite. Apart from trading in agricultural services and products, he has added solar products and energy efficient cooking stoves on his product portfolio as an agent for Vitalite. With access to solar energy for lighting, Mr. Lwiindi hopes to extend business hours for his agro shop.

Peter Mutenda is one of the customers who purchased solar energy products from Vitalite in Mbuyamusuma. With no access to electricity, Peter has made savings from buying candles and  is now able to charge his mobile phone, radio and  computer from the solar products from Vitalite.

In Monze district, Vitalite trained 10 agents targeting Njola, Mwanza, Chiyobola, Chona East, Keemba and Hatontola while three (3) were trained in Gwembe, Pemba and Kasiya.

Commenting on the affordability of the Vitalite products and services, Sales Coordinator for Mazabuka, Monze and Choma, Mabvuto Phiri disclosed that civil servants have led the way in the adoption of energy efficient products which are paid for on hire purchase using mobile money.