1. What is the economic circumstance in Zambia?
The HIV/AIDs challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa exacerbates the high poverty levels in families. Zambia’s population stands at 13 million with about 50% being under the age of 16. Only 400,000 people of the total population are in formal employment. This scenario poses a huge challenge in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Statistics indicate that nearly 67% of the population still lives in poverty, deprived of the basic life necessities such as food, clothing and shelter. It is also noted that HIV infection rate is higher among people with little or education and particularly those with low living standards.
2. What is a GROW SHG?
To contribute to the alleviation of poverty in low income families, PLAEP with support from USAID began community savings and credit groups in 2011. They aim to (1) improve household income for vulnerable households through creation of community savings and credit groups and training in business skills (2) To provide entrepreneurship skills to GROW SHG members (3) To improve literacy skills in GROW SHG members (4) To provide a safe space for spiritual support and discussion on concerns that affect the community such as positive parenting, substance abuse, gender based violence and HIV/AIDS.
PLAEP uses the GROW SHG concept in the operation of these groups. Grassroots Building Our Wealth(GROW) Self Help Group(SHG) is a community savings and lending model where groups of people with similar economic status and living in the same neighborhood, save money together. After a period of time, they begin to borrow at an agreed interest rate. PLAEP has formed 12 groups with a total of 210 members (185 are women). Group members use the money they save and borrow in their small businesses or to meet family needs.
The GROW SHGs formation goes through four phases: (1) 1 month “Preparatory” stage, (2) 3 months “Intensive” stage, (3) 4 months 2 weeks “Developmental” stage and (4) 4 months, 2 weeks “Maturity” stage. Preparatory stage is for choosing leadership, roles and setting rules for the operation of the group. Intensive stage is commencing saving and lending as well as beginning to introduce entrepreneurship skills. Developmental stage is practicing the previously learned skills. By the maturity stage groups will have acquired and applied the skills and knowledge in managing a GROW SHG. Through all the stages, PLAEP provides technical support in ensuring the effective running of these groups. The SHGs also serve as safe spaces for discussions that contribute to improvement in behavior changes and positive responses to community socio-economic concerns such as teenage pregnancies, early marriages, child abuse, substance abuse, gender based violence and HIV/AIDs.
- Formation and maintaining of GROW SHG groups
- Formation of literacy classes for vulnerable men and women with little or no formal education
- Training of GROW group members in further entrepreneurial skills
- HIV prevention information dissemination through trained peer educators
4. How can you be involved in GROW SHG?
- Donate financially to help purchase more supplies for GROW meetings such as cash boxes, padlocks, member notebooks, pens, etc
- Contribute your business and entrepreneurial skills to develop and improve incomes for GROW SHG members
- Pray for the many adults that participate in GROW SHG
Contact: Prisca Kambole, Executive Director
Office located at Superior Technologies, Silicon House Annex, Kantanta Street, Kitwe, Zambia