ZIMBABWE Women Microfinance Bank (ZWMB) has partnered with Youth Engage, a grassroots focused organization that advocates for the health of young people in their diversity to give financial freedom to young women and girls.
By Patricia Mashiri
The Bank empowers women economically and socially by providing access to affordable and innovative women-centered financial products and services. It also assists young women in their individual capacity, in groups/clubs/cooperatives or as micro, small, and medium enterprises.
Speaking to HealthTimes, Ms Barbara Muyengwa, Head of Marketing and Public Relations ZWMB said they decided to partner Youth Engage to give young women loans to start self -sustaining projects in a bid to plant a seed of entrepreneurship in young women.
Information is power, Young women in marginalized communities need to be capacitated with information and training to enable them to make informed decisions.
“Young women from the age of 18 years can access loans for working capital in trade and services as well as for their projects, most are involved in buying and selling as well as poultry projects,” Ms Muyengwa said.
She added that to address the issue of collateral, the young women can access loans in groups using the joint liability group lending methodology whereby group members collectively guarantee loan repayment, and access to subsequent loans is dependent on successful repayment by all group members.
“As a Bank we partner with organizations of this nature as we are a vehicle for National Financial Inclusion . To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of poverty eradication and hunger we will not leave anyone behind,” She said
Meanwhile Clara Chinoruma, Programs Officer Youth Engage said this was a great initiative to help Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) to be financial stable.
“We approached the Zimbabwe Women Microfinance Bank so that they will help the AGYW with loans to start some projects so that they will be financially independent. The event we are having here is an HIV and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights program but we want to make sure that they are also economic empowered.
“We focus on HIV/AIDS prevention, managing and controlling the spread of HIV among young people and AGYWs but we know if they have a financial hand their vulnerability will be reduced. We know most girls get trapped because of poverty but if they start own projects, they will be able to decide some of they things they do with sober minds,” Chinoruma said.
Statistics shows that that one in three girls in developing countries are married before the age of 19. One in nine are married before the age of 15, trends continue, more than 140 million girls will be married before the age of 18 in the next decade. Early child marriages are called by poverty and gender violence among others.