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Staff Spotlight: Bhahati Zimba

By Tonthalell Walters

Bhahati Zimba, one whose life embodies the essence of hope for smallholder farming families. With over a decade of experience in agriculture finance, Bhahati has devoted herself to empowering these families with the tools and support they need to have profitable farms so they can feed their families and send their children to school.

After completing her education in General Agricultural Extension, she embarked on her journey in 2005 as an Agriculture Extension Worker with the Ministry of Agriculture in Malawi. Her dedication to improving livelihoods in rural areas led her to Opportunity International Bank of Malawi in 2010, where she assumed the role of a Transformation Officer for training and outreach.

Since then, she has joined the Opportunity Malawi team, continuing to use her passion for farmers. Recognizing the importance of innovation in today’s digital era, Bhahati has been instrumental in introducing innovative digital tools to the farming communities she serves. By harnessing digital platforms, Bhahati has put access to training and services in the palm of her clients’ hands. This innovation has empowered more farmers to benefit from expert guidance conveniently, breaking barriers and bridging the gap between farmers and experts.

Bhahati participated in our 2024 Agriculture Finance Webinar: Harvesting Hope for Farmers through Digital Innovation. During the event, Bhahati shed light on the challenges smallholder farmers face and the solutions that helped farmers save time. She shared insights about Ulangizi, Opportunity’s new app employing generative AI to provide real-time answers to farmers’ crop-related queries. This innovation underscores Bhahati’s commitment to leveraging digital technology for farmer empowerment. Accompanying her was Anna Chimalizeni, a Farmer Support Agent (or ‘lead farmer’ for her group) who shared firsthand experiences using the app, highlighting its impact in saving time and how farmers utilized their extra time effectively.

When asked about her favorite aspect of her job, Bhahati speaks passionately about the opportunity to witness firsthand the positive impact of interventions. Whether it's implementing new agricultural techniques or providing access to financial services, Bhahati finds immense satisfaction in seeing farmers thrive and communities prosper. Her work is fueled by the meaningful relationships she builds with farmers, whose resilience and determination inspire her daily. Bhahati draws inspiration from her clients—the smallholder farmers—who exhibit unwavering determination despite facing challenges like climate change. Their commitment to improving livelihoods and providing for their families motivates Bhahati to work harder and innovate continuously to support them on their journey towards prosperity.

What excites Bhahati the most in her daily life is the opportunity to learn and grow professionally. Every day presents new challenges and opportunities for innovation, whether it's exploring new agricultural techniques, collaborating with colleagues, or engaging directly with farmers and stakeholders. The dynamic nature of her work fuels her passion for positive change.

Bhahati's "why" for being a part of Opportunity International is deeply rooted in her commitment to empowering individuals and communities to overcome poverty. She is proud to be associated with an organization whose mission aligns perfectly with her values, providing a platform to leverage her skills and expertise to make a meaningful impact, ultimately fostering economic growth and social development.

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