By LovenessNyathi and Lungile Mangena
WOMEN have been encouraged to make use of funds exclusively availed for their use in order to develop themselves and their communities.
Speaking during a meeting held at Pumula South Hall recently, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MWACSMED) community development coordinator for Ward 27 in Bulawayo Mr Sipho Bongani Ntonga told women to apply for and utilise any funding opportunities that arise.
He revealed Government had in the past availed several women's funds and these were meant to ensure women do not lag behind in development.
“Our duty as the ministry of Women Affairs is to look after SMEs; as women who want to start projects, so you need to make use of funds that are provided by the ministry”, he said.
“Pumula, you can apply for funding of between $500 to $5000 in groups of three to five,” added Ntonga who emphasised that the funds are indeed available.
Mr Ntonga said there is the Women's Development Fund that funds women's projects, Zimbabwe Community Development Fund that fund's both women and men but encourages 60% to be women and 40% to be men and the Women’s Revolving Fund.
He said the loans can be accessed from ZB bank, NMB bank, Standard Chartered, CBZ bank Belmont, Metropolitan bank, POSB and Agri bank.
“In order for you to get access to these loans we need a project proposal, constitution, certified ID copies, letter of resolution to borrow and also state your constituency”, said Ntonga.
He emphasised on cooperation, togetherness, oneness and for women to be organised in their activities.
Asked how women with disabilities will benefit from these loans, Mr Ntonga said there is a quota for women with disabilities.
Ward 27 councillor, Aldermen Siboniso Khumalo who organised the meeting said women should co-operate since they are the ones who know their problems and they will assist them in whatever way possible.
Aldermen Khumalo said women need to expand their existing projects so that they can help their communities.
Amakhosikazi Media spoke to Sikhulekile Dube, a ward 27 resident, who runs Pumula Arts and Craft Centre who said she will utilise the information obtained from the MWACDSME to get land and grow her business.
Nkazimulo Natalia Mlambo (22) said she has benefited a lot from the program as she now knows where to go when she needs funding for her project.
Siphobani Masuku (32) an aspiring businesswoman, said that the program has made her realise that she is capable of changing her life for the better.
“The program has helped me realise there are funds for women projects and l am going to apply for my catering project”, said Phumulani Khumalo (45) a pastor and a caterer.
Mr Ntonga said "The ministry realised that women have been disadvantaged by patriarchal ideologies and we want to have a critical mass of women in leadership positions to break stereotyped images of women as just carers or home managers."