The Economic Empowerment for Women (EEW) Project has produced a directory to ease challenges women face when they start businesses.
The directory has a catalogue of funding opportunities for both small and medium businesses, information on funding institutions, their profiles, addresses, location and services they provide.
EEW project manager Susan Kaunda said in an interview on Sunday that the directory results from a stakeholders mapping exercise which revealed that most women were not aware of the existence of most financing institutions.
“The challenge most women face is to know who is doing what and where they can get a particular micro-finance institution [MFI],” she said.
The directory will also address the issue of synergy and networking of the funding institutions while at the same time cutting overlaps and duplications.
“The other key challenge is that most of these institutions are in urban and semi-urban areas and as EEW, we also want to see them in rural areas,” she said.
The directory is divided into several parts such as government and donor programmes; commercial banks, MFIs and NGOs.
EEW is a Government of Malawi project being implemented in partnership with the Danish Church Aid (DCA) and the CCAP Livingstonia Synodâ€™s Church and Society Programme. The aim is to incorporate women into the countryâ€™s development agenda.
The project followed the 2009 Lilongwe Declaration, a blueprint of ensuring that women in the country participate in development programmes.
Kaunda said so far the project is bearing fruits as manifested by the introduction of the directory and some banking services in some rural areas.
“Opportunity Bank recently started an agency banking which is an initiative that uses shops as an agent of the bank,” she said.