By STEVEN ZANDE and STEPHANIE KUNDA –
THE Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) has urged women who will benefit from the Presidential Empowerment Initiative Fund (PEIF) to invest the money for the resources to grow and help move them out of poverty.
President Edgar Lungu last week released K100,000 under PEIF which would be disbursed to women groups in six church congregations in different parts of the country in efforts to address challenges facing women in accessing capital.
YWCA executive director Patricia Ndhlovu said the women who would benefit should resist the temptation to consume the money but should invest in income generation activities that had long-term benefits.
“We call on other stakeholders to emulate what President Lungu has done. This will help more women have access to affordable capital and grow their business ventures,” Ms Ndhlovu said.
She said this in an interview yesterday.
Ms Ndhlovu said YWCA was elated with President Lungu’s gesture, considering that women were in the high poverty group and the funds would foster stronger economic activity among them.
She said access to affordable capital was still a major hindrance to most women fully developing their income generating capacities.
Ms Ndhlovu said this had affected women who in most instances could not produce the required collateral which was demanded by commercial banks for individuals to access credit facilities.
The association was calling on more stakeholders to come on board by emulating President Lungu, and this was crucial to growing a nation of entrepreneurial women.
Ms Ndhlovu said most women had been trading in the markets but this was not sustainable hence the need for robust capital to strengthen women run businesses.
She said latest statistics had shown that women were resolved and given adequate capital could expand their small trading activities.
Meanwhile, the Church has said that the rolling out of the PEIF to the church is commendable because empowerment is the biggest solution any government can come up with.
International Fellowship of Christian Churches president Simon Chihana has said empowerment helped especially the vulnerable in society.
“Particularly with Zambia having vulnerable groups in the society, empowerment helps vulnerable people with ideas to implement those ideas into action,” the bishop said.
Bishop Chihana said it was good that the government was helping because it was a well known fact that any government should work with the church to reduce poverty levels in the country.
He said the programme was welcome adding that maximisation of whatever was available should be put to good use.