“It’s a great feeling to see my money grow on my account. Thank you UN Women.” — market vendor Paula Kundi

Date: Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Author: Aidah Nanyonjo

Paula Kundi, 35 year-old market vendor. Photo: UN Women
Paula Kundi, 35 year-old market vendor from Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. Photo: UN Women

Five years ago, Paula Kundi had never even had a bank account. Today, thanks to financial training provided by UN Women, the 35 year-old market vendor and single mother living with disability has savings, and plans to expand her business.

“I never knew the importance of saving money,” said Paula. “The financial literacy trainings helped me to change my perception about savings and how to manage money wisely. Nowadays, I save money and it is a great feeling to see my money grow on my account.”

She is one of 59 women vendors who benefited from a financial training provided by UN Women at the beginning of 2021. The objective was to equip women vendors with knowledge on the importance of savings and budgeting their income, and also to link them with microfinance service providers to access affordable finance to support their businesses.

Originally from Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea, Paula moved to Lae in 2017 and has since been selling bags at the town’s main market.

She had never had a bank account before but after the training, she opened a savings account at MiBank in Lae. Since then, she has saved money and diversified her sources of income. She also lends money with interest to a few trusted people. Her goal is to get a loan from MiBank to buy a car for a taxi service in Lae.

The training was carried out through the MERI (market economy recovery and inclusion) programme funded by the Australian government with 2.5 million PNG kina (around USD 700,000). The programme is implemented in partnership with the Department for Community Development and Religion, as part of the Covid-19 emergency response to improve hygiene and sanitation and women’s empowerment and livelihoods in 14 major markets around the country.