A Mchinji-based organization, Girls Activist Youth Organization (GAYO) has trained village savings lending groups known locally as Banki Mkhonde in business management as a means of addressing gender-based violence that women experience usually from their husbands.
The training that is part of the Action for Women Economic Empowerment (AWEE) project aims to economically empower women who are abused because they are financially dependent only on their husbands.
Project team leader Precious Maleka made the remarks to Kam’banda village when more than 20 women from different loan groups learned how to manage their businesses, increase their capital through access to loans from lending institutions and other financial advice.
“Our survey indicated that men victimize their wives because most women do not have the financial means to take care of the family,” Maleka said.
Maleka added that the training aims to see the women become financially independent so that they can participate in caring for their families.
“Men shouldn’t always take care of families, women can help their partners but they have to be financially independent first, that’s why we train them to run businesses,” she added. .
One of the Vision Fund facilitators, Fatsani Chiwaula, said there is a communication gap between accessing loans and managing affairs for women’s groups.
He said most women acquire false information from lending institutions on issues of interest rates and collateral terms.
Women’s groups are reluctant to access loans from institutions because they have exaggerated information on interest rates and collateral, but this training is an eye opener for them,” he said.
Chiwaula said interest rates are regulated by the Reserve Bank of Malawi as these lending institutions set rates according to law.
In her remarks, one of the participants in the training, Felesiya Kamanga, said that she is now convinced that accessing loans from institutions is not as difficult as she thought and that she hopes that businesses among village savings credit groups would improve in the near future.
GAYO is implementing a women’s empowerment project called Action for Women Economic Empowerment (AWEE) in T/A Kapondo and Nyoka Mchinji regions.