VisionFund Zambia (VFZ), part of VisionFund International’s network of more than thirty microfinance institutions, is partnering with Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ), a DFID-funded organization tasked with increasing financial inclusion, to host an event as part of the FI2020 Week on 4 November, 2015. The event will focus on the promotion of financial inclusion by leveraging savings groups and microfinance institutions.
FI2020 Week is organised by the Center for Financial Inclusion and takes place worldwide from 2 to 6 November 2015. The initiative provides the opportunity for a week of global conversation to explore the vital steps required in order to advance full financial inclusion.
Speakers at the Zambia event include Ms Joanna Ledgerwood from FSDZ, Mr. Nkosilathi Moyo, Chief Executive Officer for VFZ and Sister Mambwe, Development Coordinator, Catholic Diocese of Ndola.
Mr. Moyo, whose presentation will focus on the importance of financial inclusion for the rural poor, enthuses, “We’re delighted to engage and share in ways we can work together to increase access to financial services – in particular for those living in rural areas. With around 60% of VisionFund Zambia’s 25,000 clients living in remote areas, we understand the challenges these people face in trying to access services such as credit and insurance in order to build their businesses and improve their families’ livelihoods.”
Working in many of the same communities as parent organization World Vision, VisionFund’s microfinance offering provides the next level of financial access to those graduating from World Vision’s savings groups.
Mr. Scott Brown, VisionFund International’s President and Chief Executive Officer, explains, “There is a critical link between savings groups and the provision of microfinance services. World Vision has hundreds of thousands of savers in savings groups around the world. The savers receive training and learn how to manage money. Those participants that are ready and able can then progress to take advantage of VisionFund’s microfinance services where they may take out an individual loan to start or grow a business to better support their family.
“We endorse FI2020 and are pleased to play a part in focusing attention on this important global issue. Core to VisionFund’s strategic aim of bringing brighter futures to nine million children each year by 2019, is our focus on providing resources that empower families to create incomes and jobs in rural communities that would otherwise remain excluded,” continued Mr. Brown.
Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ) believes that Savings Groups (SGs) are an efficient and effective means to substantively increase the number of households accessing financial services. Community-based financial services are a critical focus for FSDZ to expand financial inclusion amongst rural populations. Savings Groups meet the financial needs of those too poor for banks or living in areas too remote to easily access formal financial services. FSDZ aims to significantly increase the scale, quality and efficiency of SG mobilisation and training in Zambia by building stakeholder capacity and the uptake of good practices. FSDZ also supports enhanced efficiency and quality of Savings Groups through technology such as e-recording and critical message videos. FSDZ is also considering building a core of local Master Trainers who will train community-based agents to form SGs on a fee-for-service basis.