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.