The high levels of malnutrition in Mwinilunga district is a source of concern among many stakeholders. Identified causes of malnutrition, include inadequate disposable income in households which hinders them from accessing nutritious foods. As a way to mitigate the situation, a combined team from the National Food and Nutrition Commission, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, the Ministry of Agriculture and the International Development Agency were in Mwinilunga to build the capacity of the Nutrition Support Group volunteers in savings and lending. After the training, volunteers rolled out similar lending and savings trainings to other SUN II beneficiary households. Since then, the saving groups have been formed in many areas and are giving out loans to their group members.
It is expected that through the saving and lending groups, the poverty cycle will be broken and that families will have enough disposable income to access nutritious safe foods necessary to reduce stunting and other forms of malnutrition.
Queen Fulwaswa a volunteer from Kawiku ward, who belongs to Kapindi Savings Group, said that she was trained on lending and savings with other 3 volunteers who later rolled out the trainings to other SUN II beneficiary households. She also indicated that from the training she learned more on how lending and savings works.
‘’Before the training, the women did not know how to save money and others could not use the funds in the right way’’ she said. Her saving group has only met once in February 2022, but she managed to save up to k750 from a group of 15 members. When asked about her saving group future plans, she mentioned that they will consider poultry and fish farming.
In Kanyama ward, similar trainings on lending and savings were also rolled out to volunteers and currently there are seven (7) saving groups. They too have started saving and borrowing in their group.
Referring to the same innovation, Comfort Mukenda from Chalaleli saving group said that her group managed to save about K2,500 after meeting for the first time after the training on savings in February 2022. She added that some members got loans and are engaging in different businesses such as selling eggs and other items. As a group, they intend to invest their money into fish and poultry production to boost their income in order to reduce stunting and other forms of malnutrition