Zimbabwe: Bank Told to Engage Rural Women

Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka has called on the Women's Bank officials to be impartial in the allocation of loans by ensuring they do not benefit those already in business, but also the unemployed and rural women.

She said this recently while addressing heads of department at a Mashonaland West provincial heads meeting, which also focused on plans for devolution at district level.

The meeting was to review departmental performances during the last six months.

The first meeting was held in January.

Minister Mliswa-Chikoka said the aim of the Women's Bank, together with Government was to empower women, especially those in rural areas, so that they can improve their lives.

"A lot more needs to be done for women," she said.

"The bank should not only benefit women in urban areas, but those in the rural areas as well. If the bank is going to make an impact, it should empower those women who have nothing to their names than those who are already empowered."

Minister Mliswa-Chikoka said a project started at grassroots level has more impact and shows that work is being done and that people are developing and gaining something.

"There is nothing so pleasing that you start a project with people who have nothing except what you have given them and you see them developing and blooming," said Minister Mliswa-Chikoka.

She said there was need to revisit the bank's lending conditions since most of the beneficiaries were failing to access loans from the bank.

"The bank was established mainly for the rural women, and other poor, unsalaried women, that have no access to the funds yet the bank is offering salary-based loans," said Minister Mliswa-Chikoka.

She said the bank should come up with a facility that embraces the unemployed.

"Women out there who have nothing are crying out for help with their projects," said Minister Mliswa-Chikoka.

"They should be assisted."

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