By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
AN initiative called Salome Trust meant to empower women with financial solutions and skills training has been launched by former first lady, Maureen Mwanawasa.
Dr Mwanawasa who is Salome Trust Initiative chairperson, said this had become an important contributor in the fight towards financial inclusion of women through fi-nancial literacy training and provision of financial resources.
She explained that the Salome Trust Initiative seeks partnerships with various stakeholders to effectively and efficiently create strategies and interventions for the suc-cessful implementation of women empowerment.
Dr Mwanawasa said during the launch on Wednesday evening that it was important to support the women in tools of trade to effectively and efficiently implement and execute the provision of financial literacy training and financial support.
She said by using e-commerce platforms to market their products, women could be exposed to new horizons.
“To execute this, we need basic smart phones for on boarding them onto online platform,” Dr Mwanawasa said.
She noted that the primary challenges for women in rural area of Zambia are distance to the markets and services, adding that there was need to mitigate these infra-structure deficiencies.
Dr Mwanawasa said the Salome Trust Initiative employed the use of mobile money and other payment platforms for financial transactions.
“The Salome Trust Initiative will provide expert training to meet the needs of women by assessing their businesses and catalysing the growth of their business through basic book keeping as well as opportunities to save and borrow.
“The Initiative will provide business training, information on standards and marketing opportunities as well as collaborate with private sector actors,” she said.
Currently, the organisation has secured positive financial outcomes for women in Bauleni, Chilenje, and Woodlands markets.
Salome Trust Initiative founder, Salome Mwansa-Chilambwe, explained that they provide financial literacy training to its clients as there was an understanding that there need to be an appreciation of basic financial concepts such as record keeping, calculation of profits, salaries and savings.
“The Salome Trust Initiative serves its clients through its fund via a combination of brick and mortar branches, banking agents and digital financial services, like mobile banking.
“This hybrid touch tech business model allows the Salome Trust Initiative to maint5ain personal relationships and trust clients while reaching deeper into the base of the economic pyramid where the majority of the financially excluded are located,” Ms Mwansa-Chilambwe said.
She said through its informal community based village banking programme, the Salome Fund accumulated savings and interest earned on loans are extended to the members and the benefits are shared out at the end of the cycle.
By BUUMBA CHIMBULU