Econet embarks on raising mobile literacy

LEADING telecommunications firm, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has embarked on a digital training programme to help achieve rural food security and boost productivity by raising mobile literacy among rural women farmers.

The company said the programme was designed to empower the farmers to make full use of their mobile phones in accessing critical services to raise productivity.

Econet said the programme was being conducted in partnership with the Zimbabwe Farmers’ union and Mercy Corps.

So far, the training has been conducted in Manicaland and Mashonaland Central provinces.

“The training is expected to build capacity to empower the rural farmers to access practical and timely information on relevant farming services such as mobile insurance services, as well as educating them on the dozens of use cases available to them on our mobile money service, EcoCash,” said Econet.

The telecommunications company through its FinTech and non-telecommunication business units, offers several products and services among them a mobile money transfer service and mobile micro insurance service.

ZFU Manicaland provincial manager Mr Daniel Mungazi said the programme will open farmers to new uses of their phones to ease their farming businesses and increase productivity.

“We have noted that some of our female farmers rely heavily on their male counterparts to use some of the services on their phones.

“But these trainings have begun to empower them to confidently use their own mobile phones to their advantage as far as farming is concerned,” said Mr Mungazi.

Digitalisation has over the years penetrated many facets of business.

Government also encouraged training colleges to identify new farming technologies and training students in order to match global farming trends.

In 2013, Econet developed a weather-indexed drought insurance cover for smallholder farmers allowing them to make a financial claim if their crops fail because of either inadequate or excessive rainfall.