World Vision has signed an agreement with Atlas Mara to implement the project Digital Savings for Transformation (DSAT) supported by RUFEP intended to digitize the operations of Savings Groups.

Under the project, Atlas Mara Bank developed the Tenga Mobile Money Group Savings product which facilitates Savings Groups to save and transact using Mobile phones thereby rendering the savings box obsolete.

World Vision received a grant worth $200,000.00 from RUFEP under the Innovation and Outreach Facility (IOF)’s Agency and Mobile Banking Window to implement the DSAT project.

Speaking during the launch on the 30th September 2020, World Vision National Director John Hasse thanked RUFEP for the financial support to the DSAT project.

Mr. Hasse said the project is meant to replace the cash box which has always posed a security risk for rural based Savings Groups.

“This initiative provides as an opportunity to tackle all money security issues that have posed risks of theft among communities in rural areas that use cash boxes to keep their savings”, he said.

Atlas Mara Managing Director Mr James Koni said the Tenga Mobile Money Group Savings product will not only solve the security challenge for Savings Groups but will also benefit Savings Groups by earning interest on their savings.

Mr Koni said in the wake of the COVID-19, rural savers will no longer need to travel distances to meet but with the Tenga Mobile Money, they can save and transact at the comfort of their homes using their mobile phones.

“The Tenga Mobile Money comes with no monthly charges for account maintenance. It has minimal charges for transactions and can be used to pay for daily transactions across the country through the 50 Atlas Mara branches and 174 ATMs and through existing partners such as Kazang, Zoona and Konse Konse”, he said.

Mr. Koni thanked government for promoting rural financial inclusion through partners such as RUFEP and the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) which is rolling out towers to facilitate Digital Financial Services.

Speaking at the same event, RUFEP Programme Coordinator Michael Mbulo said the programme (RUFEP) provides financial resources to IOF implementing partners to develop products that are sustainable and to come up with innovations that are able to work.

Mr. Mbulo said Zambia has over 332,000 Savings Groups that would look up to the Tenga Mobile Money Group Savings to replace their cash boxes.

“These groups are largely dominated by women and changing their attitudes from using a physical box to a virtual box is not ease. I would like to urge World Vision to go out in the rural areas to promote the Tenga Mobile Money Group Savings product”, he said.

And Children International Country Director Chikwe Mbweenda said as an administrator for about 15 Savings Groups, she observed that Savings Groups have changed the narrative of how society perceived women.

Mrs. Mbweenda said while women are the most financially excluded according to the Finscope (2015) they constitute the majority of members in Savings Groups and are no longer looked at as spenders but savers.

She said with the Tenga Mobile Money Savings Groups initiative by Atlas Mara and World Vision women would embrace the initiative as they would not be meeting physically in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(L-R) Mr. John Hasse (World Vision), Mrs Chikwe Mbweenda (Children International), Mr. James Koni (Atlas Mara) and Mr. Michael Mbulo (RUFEP)