Self-help scheme steers women to financial independence

Women in Sakubva high-density suburb are moving towards financial independence, thanks to a year-old scheme that has led to the formation of a self-help group. The Sakubva Urban Community Scheme (SUCD), launched by the Zimbabwe Community Microfinance Corporation (ZCMC) in February last year, has given around 20 women in the suburb the tools for financial empowerment.

Maud Chipanera looks through the finances with Annah Zvinoera.
Maud Chipanera looks through the finances with Annah Zvinoera.

Each woman is expected to save at least $1 a day. The amount collected is deposited in a savings account, from which members meet their credit needs.

Trinity Hukuimwe, the ZCMC finance officer, said: “Until a year ago, most of these women in this group had not even ventured into a bank. Credit was available to them in small amounts at an interest rate of 35 per cent. Now, they pay an interest rate of just 1.5 per cent a year. The women have their own passbooks and are capable of meeting their financial needs.” He added: “This is a simple procedure that has changed the lives of the members of the SUCD. Their credit facilities run to more than a few thousand dollars. Most of them wanted this money to pay for their children’s tuition fees.”

He said that, following the Sakubva project, they were now aiming to involve more women from economically weaker sections. “We are going to route all the grants available for self-employment through these groups. It certainly helps to reach those in genuine need, since recommendations come from the neighbourhood groups themselves,” said Hukuimwe.

One of the beneficiaries, Maud Chipanera, who is also the chair of the group, said: “We are happy that this is something that brings food to us. At first we had doubts about the project, but now we are able to sustain ourselves.”

As well as taking care of the financial needs of the women, the SUCD has brought about a change in attitude as well.

“We have also started a home-based care programme and right now we are assisting members by providing care and moral support. The very feeling that you are supported by others has led to a change in attitudes,” said Chipanera.

Hukuimwe said that ZCMC’s formation coincided with the launch of the United Nation’s Year for Women Empowerment.

“Poverty alleviation programmes in urban areas are the main motivation behind starting the micro-finance projects,” he added.

Post published in: News

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