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“The secretary-general took time to talk with one of our customers who had just made a deposit. She had her smart card [bank card using biometric technology] in her hand and explained how she uses the card to access her secure savings account,” said Alefa Mtunga, manager of Opportunity Malawi’s southern region.
Opportunity Malawi’s staff and clients in Mwandama Village eagerly awaited the arrival of Mr. Ban. The secretary-general visited the village to witness the significant progress the community is making in expanding their access to mobile banking and expanding new banking technologies there.
“I congratulate the leadership of the village and the whole community – especially the women of Mwandama – for their hard work and their commitment to a better life for their children and for generations to come,” he said at a press conference. “Today, I call on every country to look closely at this success. It is a case study in what is possible, even in the poorest places in the world.”
Located in southern Malawi, Mwandama was one of the communities most affected by the 2005 drought. The village and surrounding communities became Malawi’s first Millennium Village. (‘Millennium Villages’ is an initiative co-led by the UN Development Programme that aims to help African villages lift themselves out of poverty through community-led, ground-level development.) Opportunity Malawi’s mobile bank makes regular visits to the village, providing much-needed access to financial services and training.
Watch this video, Three Seasons: Progress in the Millennium Villages, from Millennium Promise. Scroll to 7:06 to see Opportunity Malawi’s mobile bank in action and learn about the difference these financial services are making in villagers’ lives.
Opportunity Malawi is expanding to serve many more banking clients. Read about rural outreach in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the opening of a new satellite branch and kiosk, and the expansion of cell phone banking at Opportunity’s blog.