Labour Pains: Discovering the Financial Lives of Zambian Mothers

Needs, challenges and opportunities for inclusion in digital financial services

With the goal of supporting digital financial services (DFS) providers to create and launch improved financial products and services that meet the needs of Zambian mothers, this research sought to learn more about this segment across income levels, age groups and geographies and deepen its knowledge of and enhance the data on Zambian mothers’ financial behaviors. The report pays particular attention to low-income mothers. By better understanding their specific financial and non-financial needs and challenges, providers can develop and refine DFS to better meet their unique requirements. 

Key findings from the research, listed below, highlight discrepancies as well as commonalities in access, use, behavior, barriers and challenges between rural and urban users and among income levels and age groups: 

  1. All mothers save, but mostly at home.
  2. Mothers are the original "gig economy workers" and rely on multiple income streams to meet the financial needs of the family.
  3. All mothers borrow, but mostly from family members and friends.
  4. Mothers may be the key to unlocking education payments via DFS.
  5. Mothers are insurance "naturals" but do not use insurance products. By necessity, they have informal forms of insurance, largely through saving and lending, to deal with financial shocks when they occur.