ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
OVER 117,000 households in Northern Province have benefited from a financial inclusion project aimed at encouraging the culture of group savings in rural areas.
The Expanding Financial Inclusion in Africa (EFI) project being spearheaded by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has helped to train 5,100 savings and internal lending communities (SILC) in Zambia to scale up their reserves.
EFI is a four-year project been implemented in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia with US$12.4 million financial support from the MasterCard Foundation.
According to a statement in the Daily Mail on Friday, the initiative has helped in promoting financial inclusion among rural poor through the organisations’ SILC and private service provider methodology.
“As of June 30, 2017, CRS exceeded its original project goal to ensure that 500,000 households experience greater financial inclusion and resilience having reached 540,000 members across the four countries,” it says.
CRS says the project has been implemented in 21 districts in Luapula, Northern and Muchinga provinces where more than 70 percent of the rural population is financially excluded.
“Our key results under EFI project has enabled us to train 5,100 SILC groups with 117,000 beneficiaries as of July 2017, certified 190 private service providers serving in Northern Province, has helped to increase our savings in the current cycle of K16.85 million (US$1,685,780 million), among others,” it says.
CRS is working with the Kasama Christian Community Care, Catholic Diocese of Mansa and Catholic Diocese of Mpika in implementing the project and to contribute to the success of the project in Northern Province.
“The SILC and private service provider approach has been refined by CRS for over a decade and now serves 2.5 million people on the African continent,” it says.