The Financial Literacy Week is commemorated in Zambia and globally as part of the Global Money Week to promote financial education, literacy and ultimately financial wellbeing and resilience of all age groups.

Since 2013, Zambia has commemorated the Financial Literacy Week for the past 10 years. Held annually in the Month of March under different themes, the 2022 Financial Literacy Week ran from 21st to 27th March 2022 under the theme, “Build Your Future: Be Money Smart”.

The Rural Finance Expansion Programme (RUFEP) has been one of the key partners with other stakeholders in the Financial Sector supporting the Financial Literacy Week Campaigns in Zambia.

In 2022, RUFEP together with Zambia Rainbow Development Foundation (ZRDF) and Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) commemorated the Financial Literacy Week targeting Savings Groups in Luano District in Mkushi North Constituency.

Mkushi North Constituency Member of Parliament (MP), Honorable Christopher Chibuye thanked RUFEP for supporting rural communities through Savings Groups in his constituency through ZRDF.

Commenting on the theme for 2022 Financial Literacy Week: Build Your Future:  Be Money Smart, Honorable Chibuye urged his constituents to build and secure their future through savings.

To the people of Mkushi North Constituency and the rest of the country, let us build our future by embracing a culture of saving and to secure our children’s future. Saving starts with small coins. By saving money and even food for the future, we secure our future”, he said.

Speaking during a courtesy call to the Area MP, RUFEP Programme Coordinator Mr. Michael Mbulo said the mandate of RUFEP was to ensure that rural people have access to and use of sustainable financial services in Zambia.

RUFEP has been working with various partners such as Financial Service Providers (FSPs), Digital Financial Service (DFS) Providers, FinTechs and NGOs with interest in financial services provision for rural communities. In Mkushi North, we are working with ZRDF. As RUFEP, we do not do actual implementation but work through partners (such as ZRDF) as a sustainability strategy, so that when we are not there, they can continue working with rural communities”, Mr. Mbulo said.

The Community Based Financial Institutions (CBFIs) Linkages Project by ZRDF supported by RUFEP linked 25 SILC Groups and built capacity of over 100 SILC Groups by December 2020 when the project closed.

On the 23rd March 2022, RUFEP visited ZRDF in Mkushi North Constituency to meet Savings Groups supported by the Partner (ZRDF) in Luano Valley and to document lessons learnt.

RUFEP Knowledge Management and Communications Specialist, Mr. Cephas Moonga said the mission by RUFEP was conducted to harvest knowledge and lessons learnt from the project which completed in 2020 and to promote the Financial Literacy Week.

Speaking during a debriefing meeting in Masansa at ZRDF Offices before field visits, Mr. Moonga said continuity of project innovations beyond the RUFEP support was key to sustainability of interventions.

ZRDF Executive Director, Mr. Brandy Mungaila disclosed that following the project completion in 2020, his organization went beyond the catchment area and exceeded the targets set under the initial RUFEP supported project.

Mr. Mungaila disclosed that 52 SILC Groups were linked to ZANACO by March 2022 and assured that ZRDF will continue to build capacity of the groups beyond the support from RUFEP.

While the RUFEP supported project under the Saving Group linkages targeted to link 25 SILC Groups to ZANACO, ZRDF has continued to support the groups and currently 296 SILC Groups had received capacity building support while 52 were linked to ZANACO”, he said.

And RUFEP Programme Coordinator Mr. Michael Mbulo said RUFEP’s implementation strategy was indirect through partners adding that ZRDF’s success was RUFEP’s success.

By Mid-Term Review in 2018, RUFEP had exceeded its target of 140,000 Households in terms of outreach and this has increased to over 500,000 by March 2022. Credit goes to all our implementing partners including ZRDF for this success”, Mr. Mbulo said.

He said as RUFEP (2014-2022) was winding up its operations, it was necessary to document lessons learnt through data collection and knowledge harvesting as part of impact evaluation.

Mr. Mbulo thanked ZANACO for supporting RUFEP’s mission to expand rural financial inclusion through innovations such as the Community Based Financial Institutions Linkages Window and for the partnership during the Financial Literacy Week.

On the same day, RUFEP, ZRDF and ZANACO delegation visited selected SILC Groups linked to ZANACO in Mkushi. The groups visited are based in Fiwila and Kaloko Areas of Luano District.

Among the Savings Groups met in Fiwila and Kaloko Areas included Kamichelo, Wishalila, Twafweni, Tukamona, Tubombeshe, Kampoko Youth and Twafweni SILC Groups.

SILC Group Members shared testimonies of how Savings Groups have empowered them and improved their livelihoods.

Savings Group beneficiaries testified that they have increased their agricultural productivity through purchase of inputs, bought livestock, built better houses and have food and nutrition security.

Speaking during a meeting with Kamichelo SILC Groups, ZANACO Mkushi Branch Manager, Mr. Felix Kangwa expressed happiness that the engagements with the groups by the Bank through the partnership with ZRDF and RUFEP were bearing fruits.

Mr. Kangwa encouraged group members to continue saving within their groups and the bank to build their future and that of their children.

From the testimonies, we have seen the goodness of saving. Save in the groups and loan each other or bring the money to the bank for safe keeping and to ensure money circulates. We want groups to grow so that we have bigger testimonies in future”, he said.

Later, in Kaloko and Fiwila, the delegation proceeded to meet Wishalila SILC Group where RUFEP, ZRDF and ZANACO continued to enlighten group members on the importance of saving.

Speaking during a meeting with Wishalila SILC Group, Mr. Mbulo said RUFEP’s partnership with ZRDF and ZANACO aims to ensure rural Savings Groups are part of the financial system to secure savings.

ZRDF is training groups in financial literacy so that members can keep, save and invest to make more money. When your money grows you need to keep it safe with ZANACO. As we commemorate the financial literacy week across the country, we need to learn how to use money and invest to improve our lives”, he said.

The Financial Literacy Week contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the National Strategy on Financial Education (2019- 2024) launched in 2019. The objective of the strategy is to improve knowledge, understanding, skills, motivation and confidence for the Zambian population to secure positive financial outcomes for themselves and their families by 2024. The financial education and literacy campaigns target children, youths, adults and all age groups.