The Cholera response for vendors plying their trade in different markets in Lilongwe has received a boost following a K5.4 million donation of sanitation materials from National Bank of Malawi Plc.
Business development Manager for retail banking division Chimwemwe Chijere explained that the partnership with the vendors association started last year in June through a product called Tawoloka Finance which has reached out to traders in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu.
Through the arrangement, vendors have access to up K5 million to be repaid within 36 months.
He stated that oftentimes these sellers have been taken as unreliable people but the bank values them and see them as crucial to the country's economy and as of February 2023, the bank has opened 850 vendor accounts.
Chijere said when they were approached by the vendors, the bank was quick to respond realising the poor sanitation conditions they are exposed to and felt obliged to support the Association with wheel barrows, shovels, gloves, gumboots and masks among others to aid the cleaning and maintenance of markets.
“Apart from providing loans we have organised workshops for the vendors so that we should teach them good financial management practices. In addition to that, we are having constant visits to them through their leadership so that we teach them how to manage their finances, how to plan their businesses and how to grow their businesses by utilizing the services that we offer them at the bank these includes the Transaction accounts in addition to the loans”.
The vendors hailed the partnership which they say will help in promoting sanitation and hygiene in the markets describing it as timely in overcoming the cholera outbreak and promoting hygiene and sanitation in the city.
A representative of the vendors acknowledged the poor sanitation conditions in the markets they operate in which forces them to sell their products cheaply.
“As Lilongwe vendors, we are happy with the donation as it will greatly improve the standards of sanitation hence boost our sales and with the prevailing Cholera situation it will help us in reducing these cases”.