In the period of January and February 2023, Center for Environment Justice (CEJ) with support from Bread for the World (BFtW) carried out a community engagement activity in Sinazongwe District led by Executive Director Ms. Maggie Mapalo Mwape to introduce the Resilient Initiative and Sustainable Environment project (RISE) and the concept of Community Savings Groups model through an effective community mobilization. The objective of the mobilization and sensitization campaign was to emphasize on the empowerment programmes and financial inclusion through the implementation of the Self – Savings – Led village banking model – targeting women and youth groups impacted by mining activities to benefit from the business development and an investment loan from CEJ in the initial phase.
Kanyama Savings Group
A group of 18 Maamba residents (12 females and 6 males) from Sipumina village, Mweemba chiefdom who attended the village banking sensitization meeting conducted by CEJ organized themselves and formed a group called Kanyama Savings group on 2nd February 2023. The group started saving and was among the first 60 groups to be trained in village banking concept by CEJ in March 2023.
In April 2023 the group applied for the investment loan to implement poultry project in Maamba area. The group was strategically picked by CEJ project management experts even when they were the lowest compared to other groups in terms of savings. Their resilience, team work and commitment were among the areas of strength that made them qualify for the investment loan, among the first four groups to benefit from the loan.
Their resilience, leadership, well-coordinated team work and expertise in chicken keeping (broilers) has attracted many customers to their business as they produce healthier and much bigger chickens than their competitors. The entrepreneurship skills training and monitoring they have continued to receive from Sinazongwe CEJ, has also helped shape their focus on business.
Milestone of the Investment Loan
Kanyama savings group has been faithful in monthly loan returns since they got the loan, but a milestone was achieved in the project (RISE), when the same group managed to pay back the loan, they were supposed to finish in six months in three months by July month-end 2023. This was beyond our expectations but a welcome development that will definitely motivate other groups to put in their best efforts in their business. From K10,000 loan within three months the group was able to raise K36,000 through their poultry project of keeping and selling broilers and finished the loan.
After paying back the loan with three months to spare, the group has 120 three weeks old chickens and are saving with ZANACO Bank.
The group wants to raise enough money to buy an electrical hammermill for business growth and expansion as well as provide a service to the community members in the area some of whom walk long distances as far as Siankodobbo community with bags of maize to the hammermills.
The group has paid glowing tribute and great thanks to Center for Environment Justice for the opportunity to benefit from the loan and training capacity building, and have pledged to continue working with the organization which is changing the community of Sinazongwe for the better.