Communities from Senior Chief Kaluluma, T/A Chisemphere and Sub-T/A Chisikwa in Kasungu North Friday hailed public works programme and Community Savings Investment Promotion (Comsip) for economically transforming their livelihoods.
The communities made the remarks at Kawinama Primary School in the district during a Field Day organised to provide platform for Comsip groups, clusters and cooperatives to interact, share knowledge, skills and experiences.
“We thank government for introducing public works programme which helps us earn money for use in our homes and we also thank Comsip for teaching us how to save and how to grow our money.
“Our appeal to government is that the public works programme should continue because it is helping improve lives of us, the poor,” said Chimwemwe Mithi, Secretary for Alamu Comsip Cooperative of Senior Group Alamu in Senior Chief Kaluluma’s area.
Mithi disclosed that from K3 000 which her 30-member grouping started with in 2010 the cooperative today boasts of five herds of cattle and five goats. The group has also cultivated five acres of soya beans, six acres of sunflower and two acres of groundnuts.
District Commissioner Harrison Lende echoed Mithi’s sentiments saying public works programme has uplifted many families in the district from abject poverty levels to self economic reliance.
He described the positive strides a clear indication for the need to continue with the programme to benefit many more families in the district and the country.
“These people when they finish working in the public works programme we encourage them to form groups where they save part of their earnings. Comsip then comes in to train them on finance literacy and business management and what we are seeing today are fruits of that initiative,” explained Lende.
He called on the media to report more on various social cash transfer programmes which government has introduced saying more people in the country are not aware of such initiatives and that their benefits go unreported.
On his part Comsip Acting Operations Manager Harold Dunga said the biggest challenge facing efforts aimed at eradicating poverty in the country is lack of acceptance that rural people can also save.
He said there was need for public awareness on the need to cultivate saving culture and change of mindset.
Said Dunga: “The truth of the matter is that the country needs to devise certain approaches like the one we have in Comsip, the savings first approach. If you spend expecting that what remains is what you will call saving it will never happen.
“But if you take it the Comsip way that you will save first before spending then even if you are working in a project like public works programme and you get K3 000 (about $7) you will still save something.”
Meanwhile, guest of honour at the field day director of public affairs in the office of the president and cabinet Isaac Cheke Ziba commended the villagers for linking the public works initiative to Comsip.