A sun-dried vegetable project is providing the springboard for a Zambian women’s group to support new enterprise development for their members.
Members of the 20-strong self-help group in Lushoma, Zambia, have seen their incomes increase, and have begun to save part of their increased earnings to set up a savings programme, and provide loan support to individual members to develop alternate new business opportunities.
Members meet on a weekly basis and pay 1,000 Zambian Kwacha (€1.30) into the group fund, and on a quarterly basis disburse to members to support new income-generating activities.
Group chairperson Rose Chambisha says that they can provide three or four small loans per quarter, and that members have used funds from the group to trade fish and livestock, and to set up their own small home-based retail businesses. “The solar drying business has given us all a boost.
We grow and sell fresh produce between March and September, and towards the end of the season we also solar dry tomato, onions, pumpkin leaves and eggplant. These sell at a higher price when produce is scarce, and we have also found a market for our surplus with wholesalers Silva Catering in Lusaka,” Rose Chambisha says.
The Lushoma self-help group was formed in 2008 with support from Self Help Africa’s local partners, Harvest Help Zambia, and have been supported with enterprise training, group training and in the production, packing and marketing of their solar dried produce. Young mother Patricia Simojegi says that it has been a big help to her to be a part of Lushoma group, as they work together, have common purpose, and are improving the lives of their families.