As part of the celebrations to mark the women’s month of March, dfcu Bank has organised a series of financial literacy sessions across the country to inspire and empower women to tackle the challenges they face in business.
In pushing for progress among women entrepreneurs, dfcu Bank established the Women in Business program (dfcuWiB) in 2007 to support Ugandan women entrepreneurs achieve their full potential. The program was motivated by a number of factors including the fact that despite women being over 50% of the population of Uganda, this was not proportionate to the ratio of women who are banked.
Meanwhile, over 400 women engaged in trade and agribusiness are set to benefit from these sessions to be held in Kampala, Mbale, Gulu and Mbarara, and the dfcu WiB Manager Victoria Byenkya says overall 30,000 women have so far registered for the programme.
“We have seen a significant uptake of the program with over 30,000 members currently registered – testament to the hunger and desire for growth. In order to address the knowledge & skills gap we run capacity-building sessions throughout the year and currently have over 20,000 women that have benefited from this,” Ms. Byenkya says.
And, speaking during the first session at the Biraj Hotel in Nakasero down town Kampala, dfcu Bank’s Head of Consumer Banking, Denis Kibuukamusoke said gender imbalances in accessing credit are a major concern to women.
“The majority of women tend to have low financial literacy levels and therefore have challenges documenting their business, articulating their plans and projections, which are key in assessing bank credit. Since inception of the Women in Business program over 4,000 women have benefited from the dfcu WiB loans but this number could be a lot better,” Mr. Kibuukamusoke noted.
“For dfcu Bank, helping women to overcome financial barriers while supporting them in their quest for growth is not just a business proposition; it is in fact an obligation,” he added.
In 2012, dfcu Bank established the Women Business Advisory Services to press for women’s economic empowerment while increasing their financial literacy as well as creating business linkages for them. Through these advisory services at the dfcu WiB Centre, regular customized workshops are undertaken in fields such as; financial advisory, business to business linkage advisory, marketing and branding, legal advisory and human resource advisory.
To make this possible, dfcu Bank collaborated with Makerere University Business School (MUBS), Uganda Law Society (ULS) and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to offer business and financial advisory services to thousands of women, especially those engaged in productive economic activity at no cost.