In 2004, the outbreak of the Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) decimated the livestock population in Kazungula and Mwandi Districts of Southern and Western provinces respectively.

The loss of livestock due to CBPP increased the vulnerability of smallholder farmers who depend on animal draught power for agricultural production, milk sales for household incomes and nutrition security.

In July 2019, ZayoHub submitted the Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance Project proposal to the Rural Finance Expansion Programme (RUFEP) to co-finance the Livestock Finance pilot in Mwandi and Kazungula Districts which was approved and financed with a grant agreement of 10th February 2020.

Funded by Transform Project and Vitol Foundation with co-financing from RUFEP, the project aims to increase livestock ownership among smallholders in the target areas.

The co-financing from RUFEP for the project came under the Rural Finance Equity and Innovation Window III of the Innovation and Outreach Facility (IOF) matching grants for pilots in financial product development.

Constance Chibiliti and Yobe Banda in Lipumpu area, Mwandi District

Mafisa is a local traditional practice where a person with a herd of cattle entrusts another person (usually vulnerable and without any livestock) to take care of their animals and is paid or rewarded with an animal or more after an agreed period of time.

ZayoHub’s Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance Project borrows from this traditional practice with some modifications to suit the project objectives.

The Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance pilot project targets to cover 150 smallholder farmers in Magumwi area under Chief Imonga, Lipumpu area under Chief Nsando in Mwandi District and Sikaunzwe area under Chieftainess Sekute in Kazungula Districts.

The project further aims to improve the indigenous breeds through cross breeding with exotic breeds such as Boran and Tuly to improve disease resistance, meat quality and milk production.

On the 1st December 2020, RUFEP and the Rural Finance Unit of the Ministry of Finance conducted field visits to assess progress of the Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance Project by ZayoHub in Lipumpu and Sikaunzwe areas and to document testimonies from project beneficiaries.

Speaking during the field visit in Lipumpu, Mafisa Project Manager and Livestock Specialist Yobe Banda said the target beneficiaries were clustered and grouped into three categories according to the number of cattle they possessed.

Mr. Banda said beneficiaries were expected to take care of the animals for a period of 5 years according to the number received per category and later pay back to the project for sustainability.

In the first category, a person with less than 5 animals receives 1 pregnant heifer while a person with 6-10 animals fall in the second category and receives 3 pregnant cows. Beneficiaries in this category choose one person to be given the bull. Category three is for people with 11 or more cattle and is for mentors with experience in livestock management,” he said

Induna Siyambwe Mulonda Lipumpu

Speaking on behalf of the Community, Induna Siyambwe Mulonda Lipumpu thanked ZayoHub and RUFEP for the Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance project which has empowered the community in Lipumpu with infrastructure for livestock management.

Induna Lipumpu urged ZayoHub to extend the project to other areas so that more people could benefit from the initiative.

The project also targets to empower vulnerable women as beneficiaries. Christina Simasiku, a widow in Sikaunzwe area in Kazungula district disclosed that following the death of her husband, she became vulnerable.

Ms. Simasiku said she was grateful that the project identified her as a vulnerable and empowered her with livestock.

Eustace Chabalala is another beneficiary in Sikaunzwe Area in Kazungula District. Mr. Shabalala received 3 cows and a bull from the Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance project.

All the three cows I received have already calved giving me a heifer and two bulls. My vision is to ensure that I multiply these animals in the years to come”, he said.

ZayoHub Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance Project beneficiaries in Lipumpu with RUFEP, RFU, and ZayoHub staff

In 2004 when the Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) broke out in Kazungula District, Mungole Kawana lost all his 300 herds of cattle.

Narrating his ordeal during the field visit, Mr. Kawana said when he lost all his cattle, he lost his source of livelihood as a smallholder farmer who depended on livestock for a living.

Mungole Kawana, a mentor in Sikaunzwe area, Kazungula District

I had to till the land using my hands which reduced my agricultural productivity. I lost income from milk sales and this increased my vulnerability to poverty” he said.

Later, with a bit of savings from his meagre income from rudimentary farming without animal draught power, Mr. Kawana bought three cows which he nurtured and has multiplied to a sizeable herd.

When ZayoHub came to Sikaunzwe area in Kazungula District, Mr. Kawana was identified as a mentor for the community with more than 11 animals. He is one of the beneficiaries of the Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance Project.

Mr. Kawana surrendered part of his land to the Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance project to drill a borehole to provide water for animals and to build a spray race for the community to dip their animals.

Meanwhile, ZayoHub engaged AfricaPride to provide livestock insurance cover for all the animals from Zayohub.

Zayohub Partnerships Manager Constance Chibiliti disclosed that ZayoHub further engaged AfricaPride to consider providing insurance products to smallholder farmers.

She thanked RUFEP for the support to the project which was channeled to provision of veterinary services and training of smallholder farmers on livestock management.

Through pilot products like Livestock Financing, rural smallholder farmers can also be targeted to adopt livestock insurance to reduce their vulnerability and to promote rural financial inclusion. Through such innovations and pilots, the Rural Finance Expansion Programme is hopeful that Financial Service Providers could develop products tailored to the needs of rural people that could be scaled up for rural outreach.

Spray race constructed by the project in Sikaunzwe area, Kazungula District for the community


RUFEP partnered with United Bank for Africa (UBA) to facilitate digital payments using VISA Cards by beneficiaries of the Girls Education and Women Empowerment and Livelihoods (GEWEL) project by the World Bank.

In December 2019, RUFEP signed a grant agreement with UBA to support the Women Farmers Empowerment Project under the Agency and Mobile Banking Window II of the Innovation and Outreach Facility (IOF).

The aim of the project is to promote Digital Financial Services (DFS) by facilitating payments targeting 4,500 women beneficiaries of the Farmers Input Support Program (FISP) and the GEWEL Project.

The GEWEL Project by the World Bank provides financial support in form of seed money for empowering vulnerable women with income generating activities to improve their livelihoods and to support girls’ education.

The project further aims to contract 45 Agro-dealers to act as Super Agents to pay beneficiaries using UBA’s Point of Sale (POS) Machines. Under the Project UBA issued VISA Cards to beneficiaries who could either withdrawal their benefits from Agro dealers or any bank Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

From the 2-3rd December 2020, RUFEP and the Rural Finance Unit of the Ministry of Finance conducted field visits in Sinazongwe and Gwembe Districts of Southern Province to monitor progress of UBA’s RUFEP supported project and to meet the beneficiaries of the GEWEL Project by the World Bank.

The first point of call was the District Administration Offices in Sinazongwe which coordinates the implementation of the GEWEL Projects in the districts in conjunction with the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS).

Sinazongwe District Community Development Officer Getrude Muvwimi disclosed that communities participated in selecting beneficiaries for the GEWEL Project.

Getrude Muvwimi

Mrs. Muvwimi said officers from the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services  collaborate with the communities to identify beneficiaries and to ensure that those that are on the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) are not enlisted as beneficiaries for the GEWEL Project.

“The beneficiaries’ age groups range from 19-64 years and these are people who are fit for work and are able to do business”, She said.

Mrs. Muvwimi added that GEWEL Project beneficiaries receive life skills and business training from the Community Based Volunteers and are urged to save at least ZMW200.00 to start up Savings Groups.

Speaking during the meeting with beneficiaries in Sinazongwe at Sialwala Primary School, RUFEP Programme Coordinator Michael Mbulo said RUFEP came to Sinazongwe to verify if the beneficiaries were receiving their payments using UBA VISA Cards and to assess any challenges for the project.

Mr. Mbulo said under Strategic Partnerships, RUFEP partnered with the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS) by providing financial support for the installation of a database server for the GEWEL Project at the Ministry.

In Sialwala area, about 32 beneficiaries of the GEWEL Project confirmed accessing empowerment funds from the GEWEL Project using UBA VISA Cards.

Ellen Ndelenge disclosed that as a beneficiary, she received a mobile phone from the JEWEL Project and a VISA Card from UBA.

“Once the money was deposited in my account, I received a notification by a Short Message Service (SMS). Thereafter, I went to Sinazeze and withdrew the money from Atlas Mara Bank using the UBA VISA Card”, Mrs. Ndelenge said. She disclosed that she used the money to pay school fees and to buy two goats.

Queen Siachoona is another beneficiary of the GEWEL Project in Sialwala area in Sinazongwe. Mrs Siachoona said apart from buying food, she used the ZM1,240 she received to start business adding that together with other beneficiaries, they formed a savings group to start saving.

Tryphine Mukume a business woman and a beneficiary of the GEWEL Project in Gwembe District. Mrs Mukume said she withdrew the money deposited in her account from Monze using a UBA VISA Card.

She added that the beneficiaries formed Tusenke B Savings Group with a membership of 14 women who meets every Tuesday to save and access loans at 20% interest.

However, some beneficiaries could not access their empowerment funds from the GEWEL Project as they found that their accounts had insufficient funds or had their accounts debited without the cash coming out.

Matilda Sianyuka disclosed that when she went to withdraw her money from an ATM in Monze, she found that her account had insufficient funds.

UBA’s Digital Banking Team Member Mwamba Kayenga promised to investigate a few cases where the beneficiaries could not receive their money.

He said usually when that happens, the system might have detected some queries on registration details of the beneficiary which needs to be corrected adding that the money still remains in the Community Development account.

Mr. Mwamba further disclosed that the project had a challenge to recruit suitable Super Agents in Sinazongwe and Gwembe Districts to act to intermediate payments to beneficiaries for the project.

RUFEP, RFU, UBA Staff with GEWEL Project beneficiaries at Sialwala Primary school, Sinazongwe


RUFEP, RFU, UBA Staff with GEWEL Project beneficiaries in Gwembe