Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM) has linked thirty rural Self-Help Groups (SHGs) to the Zambia National Commercial Bank (Zanaco) in Kapiri Mposhi District of Central province.

Jesus Cares (JCM) is implementing a project named Financial Inclusion for Self Help Groups (SHGs) with  support from the Rural Finance Expansion Program (RUFEP) under the Innovation and Outreach Facility (IOF) matching grants.

Supported by RUFEP under the Community Based Financial Institutions (CBFIs) Linkages Window of the IOF, the project aims to link the Self-Help Groups in the area to formal financial institutions and to promote use of mobile money services in their saving activities.

On the 20th September 2021, RUFEP visited the Self-Help Groups supported by Jesus Cares Ministries in Kapiri Mposhi rural to monitor progress by the implementing partner. Before visiting the groups, the RUFEP team first made a stopover at the Jesus Cares Ministries’ Headquarters in Kabwe where the implementing partner briefed RUFEP on the progress made by the Project.

Project Manager Mrs. Mwiche Chishimba said the project targeted to link 203 SHGs to formal financial institutions in Kapiri Mposhi and Kabwe in Central Province and in Katete and Chipata in Eastern province.

Mrs. Chishimba disclosed that JCM trained the groups on business management and income generating activities and convinced them on the benefits of being linked with formal financial institutions.

“It was a challenge to convince the groups to start saving in a bank due to lack of understanding but after training them for about three months they appreciated the benefits of saving money in a bank account”, she said.

After the briefing, RUFEP and JCM team traveled to Kapiri Mposhi where meetings were held with Thandizo and Mulungushi Self Help Groups in Katuba and Mulungushi villages of St Pauls’ area.

Thandizo Self Help Group members testified that the linkage with Zanaco has made their saving easy as their money is now deposited at the bank for safe keeping instead of keeping it in homes.

Chairlady for the Group Beatrice Lumambwe thanked RUFEP and Jesus Cares Ministries for supporting rural Self-Help Groups and promoting linkages with financial service providers.

Katuba Headman Gilbert Lwengele said promoting Savings Groups such as Self-Help Groups was changing livelihoods of rural people in Katuba. Headman Lwengele added that this has also brought unity among women who are now doing great things to empower themselves and their households.

Jesus Cares Ministries encouraged the group members to continue working hard in their business and to continue using the knowledge they have acquired even after the RUFEP project ends.

And Mulungushi Self Help Group members linked to FINCA shared with the RUFEP team how their livelihoods have been transformed through Self Help Groups.

Mrs. Charity Mulubwa is the Project Officer for Jesus Cares Ministry. She disclosed that the project has supported a total of Fifty-Seven (57) Groups out of which thirty-four (34) were rural groups. She added that out of the 34 rural groups, 30 were linked with Zanaco.

RUFEP Programme Coordinator Michael Mbulo encouraged Jesus Cares Ministries to continue promoting linkages for rural self hep groups to formal financial service providers to expand rural financial inclusion.

Meanwhile, many young people are now beginning to reap the benefits of belonging to savings groups. Bollen Nganuka a Grade Twelve School leaver and member of Mulungushi Self-Help Group disclosed that proceeds from farming have helped him to raise his initial capital for saving with his Group. Bollen now plans to go to college to further his education.

Another inspiring story is that of Clere Njobesha who had failed to get her grade twelve results as she was owing her former secondary school about Four thousand kwacha.  After joining Mulungushi Self Help Group, she got a loan and used it to start business activities which saw her clearing the arrears at the school. After getting her results, Clere has applied for enrolment to start her nursing studies.

RUFEP is happy that the youth have taken interest to participate in Self Help Groups in Kapiri Mposhi rural to empower themselves. Further, youths were encouraged to join saving groups such as Self-Help Groups to unlock their potential and support themselves instead of depending on parents and guardians.