Christians, Muslims partner for women economic empowerment

 

Women Pastors Association and Islamic Commission for Justice and Freedom (ICJF) have come together to empower Blantyre-based women economically.

The two groups put their ideological differences aside when they agreed to work together to alleviate the economic suffering of women by giving them interest-free business loans through community banking groups.

According to Women Pastors Association national coordinator Bishop Yamie Tchika, the partnership is part of the presidential initiative of empowering religious women economically.

For empowerment: Christian and Muslim women at one of their gatherings

“Christians and Muslim women will work together for the empowerment of a woman regardless of her religious background. Through this, we want to see women economically empowered,” Tchika said in Blantyre.

The two groups will spearhead formation of community banking clubs to encourage women to put together their savings and access loans without any interest.

Alternatively known as Banki M’khonde, the community banks are credited with increasing women access to soft loans at a time most formal lending companies exclude them due to high interest rates, illiteracy and lack of collateral.

ICJF chief commissioner Abdul Razzaman Ajassie urged Muslim women not to frustrate the organisation’s ties with its Christian counterpart, saying no religious issues would be discussed in the groups.

“This partnership aims at alleviating the women’s poverty. Women are becoming poorer though they work harder than men,” he said.

The intervention envisages freeing women from microfinance firms which often charge high interest rates and confiscate property from poor families. n

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