Village Banking in Ndola, Zambia
Our partner in Zambia, Hope Community School, continues to expand their reach to support and empower members of their community. Recently, they started a new community empowerment initiative called “Village Banking”. The program is educating and empowering members of the community to understand and attain financial security through business and budgeting training. We’ve seen a direct impact, specifically for Idah, a Hope Community School graduate.
What is Village Banking?
The recently formed “Village Banking” initiative provides budgeting lessons and business skills to unemployed adults in the Hope community. Participants receive goods, for example: vegetables from Hope’s farm or supplies to make crafts, to sell at local markets. Revenue from the sales is used to pay back Hope for the goods they received, which in turn is used to compensate the record keepers, purchase more craft supplies, or is invested back into the farm. Participants in the initiative are encouraged to save a small percentage of their profit in the village bank and use the remaining funds to support their families. Small loans are also available to support their businesses.
How can the initiative make an impact?
Idah Mulenga Yankonde (pictured right) is a Hope School graduate and a participant in Hope’s new Village Banking program.
Idah went to primary school at Hope Community School from 2006 to 2012. She was one of the first students to enroll at Hope when the school started. She graduated from 7th grade and with scholarship support from Hope & Spark, went on to successfully complete 8th and 9th grade in secondary school. Unfortunately, Idah’s education ended after 9th grade when she was forced into an early marriage that was abusive and short lived.
After the failed marriage, life was unbearable for Idah and her 3 children. She tried earning money doing odd jobs in the community but wasn’t able to earn enough to provide basic needs for herself and her children. When Hope’s Village Banking program began, she was given an opportunity to buy and sell produce grown on the Hope Community School farm. Through this initiative, she was able to acquire a permanent spot at the Twapia market market and earn enough money to begin buying and reselling produce from other farmers. Since joining the program, she has continued to buy and sell various types of vegetables at the market every week.
Idah is hard working and determined to succeed. With the support of the Village Banking program and the financial stability it provides, she is confident her business venture will continue to be successful. Through Idah’s experience in this program, she has gained confidence and self-esteem, and has learned valuable business and budgeting skills. She is now able to afford basic needs and is renting a 2-room house in Twapia where she lives with her 3 children. Her first born child is enrolled at Hope Community School.
Idah’s goal is to continue working hard and with the support of the Village Banking program, she’d like to open her own restaurant and become self-sustaining.
The impact of the Village Banking initiative is exciting. We look forward to strategically supporting its growth and for more of Hope’s community members to benefit from its potential.