A total of 161 Savings for Change groups in 19 agricultural camps in Kazungula district have been created to empower rural communities with alternative livelihoods.
Kazungula Senior Agricultural Officer, Thundu Kaonga, said the Savings for Change groups comprising a total of 2,519 members have shared K3.1 million to venture in alternative livelihoods in the agriculture sector.
Mr. Kaonga said the creation of the Savings for Change groups has been done by the Strengthening Climate Resilience in Agricultural Livelihoods in Agro-ecoregions I and II (SCRALA) project and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
He said Savings for Change groups are encouraging farmers to come together and put up the local savings with a view that they use the income they have for agricultural purposes and for social needs such as school fees and health.
Mr. Kaonga explained that some individuals have started investing in economic activities such as bee production, construction of houses, mobile money businesses, goat rearing, cattle rearing, and vegetable production to improve their livelihoods.
And Lusumpuko Savings group President, Harriet Malambo of Mandia Agricultural Camp in Kazungula, said the groups have assisted the members to buy agricultural inputs such as seed and fertiliser.
Ms. Malambo said her Savings for Change group has 25 members comprising women only who started their savings in 2021.
She disclosed that the group has enabled individual members to engage into various types of businesses and are now able to sponsor children to school and purchase agricultural inputs.
A beneficiary, Betty Mukosana said she joined the Savings for Change group because she was encouraged by a member who constructed a house from the savings group money.
Ms. Mukosana explained that she intends to secure a plot in Kazungula border and start building a house from the share outs she will be receiving.
Meanwhile Eucaria Mainza said she has since started building a house in Zimba district which she intends to put on rent when it is completed.
Mrs. Mainza pointed out that her savings group had slightly over K37,000 share capital contributed by the members.
She said she accessed K7,000 from a group to start a business.