WOMEN'S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
Saving and Internal Loan Communities (SILC) are in essence village banks. Typically a group of 15 to 20 village members, of which 80% must be women meet regularly. ZRDF provides training and a cash box. Members deposit cash which is then loaned to the members who wish to borrow for commercial activities. Loans are taken out for a variety of purposes, for example, to buy ingredients for cooking products, dressmaking or to buy fish for resale.
This has been extraordinarily successful with 154 groups, with over 2,300 individuals participating. Women have proven to be very entrepreneurial and adept at starting small businesses. The profits made are being invested in farming activities such as buying goats, chickens, seeds and fertiliser, through to acquiring personal assets such as a bicycle and investing in their households. Looking forward, the objective is to provide further training to increase their members' financial expertise.