THE National Financial Inclusion Taskforce (NFIT) must be commended for the initiative of the biennial awards for women in micro-business more-so for women in rural areas.
Often rural dwellers are being left out in such prestigious awards. However yesterday’s activity and ceremony saw women in rural areas taking the lead in discussing and speaking on things that matter in their communities and of their daily struggles.
For a change, these women in the rural areas were given the platform to share their stories and inspire other women doing businesses in a similar setting.
Hearing these women share their stories is quite compelling.
They spoke of challenges like lack of access to financial institutions, lack of support transport system, difficulties in communication etc. One micro-business owner spoke of the difficulty in getting her commodity across to Honiara for export.
It would have been easier for her to bring her commodity to the country’s second international port in the western province.
Sadly, this is not the case since the international port does not handle commodities.
One spoke of the hardship faced in doing financial transactions at the commercial banks. The commercial bank available in her provincial town doesn’t have the capacity to meet her demand and so she has to travel to Honiara each time she wants to withdraw or do bank transactions.
One spoke of the need to climb higher altitudes in search of network connectivity to contact business partners or clients in Honiara. However despite the hardships, these women remain optimistic and believe in hard work and determination. Their commonality is their drive to succeed. Giving up is not an option.
These women, though only five that shared their experiences, represents the vast majority of our rural women. We shouldn’t be turning a blind eye or turn a deaf ear to their stories. We need to listen and make the right changes to ensure they operate their businesses in a good environment.
After-all they contribute more to the development of our economy.