“Knowledge is power” is an old aged adage which has lost meaning and relevance to many in Zimbabwe especially at a this time of the Kiyakiya economy where the learned are pushed to the doldrums of poverty and the hustlers are better off. However, in the month April and May 2022, Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) collaborated with the Zimbabwe Women’s MicroFinance Bank and the Ministry of Women Affairs to give knowledge on government loans, financing schemes and economic literacy to female waste pickers from Cowdray Park, Ngozi mine slum settlement, Pumula, Magwegwe and Pelandaba West – and it was proved that indeed ‘knowledge is still power’.
To 95% of the women that attended the interface meetings, it was for the first time hearing about the Women’s Bank and the financial schemes that it offers. For other women, the sessions were enlighten especially on matters of taking loans and loan repayment. “I have heard of the loans at the Women’s Bank but have always been scared to go and apply fearing that they will repossess my house if I fail to repay, however, the explanation that I got today made me realize that its easy to repay the loans and I am now determined to apply” explained a female waste picker in Pumula South.
To some waste pickers even though the sessions were empowering, they still felt excluded especially by collateral and their failure to have civil documents like national identity cards.