My job involves selecting and training 20-something Zambians to start their own money transfer franchises in different towns all across the country. We call them our Champion Agents.
Hellenah Mwansa is one of these young agents I’m very proud of. She finished our training course in April and we promptly sent her up to Ndola, 400km north of Lusaka where she had been living, with instructions to find a location, set up a portable booth that she’d pick up at a town along the way, and start transacting.
But just two weeks into her new job she fell sick. Malaria, most likely. While she went to a health clinic and began treatment almost immediately, she was still almost completely incapacitated. Bedridden for a week, maybe more. During all of this all she asked me for was $10 to buy the vitamins and fruit juice the health clinic recommended she take.
Yet this past week when I drove up to visit her and a few of our other agents, she was cheerful, smiling, and had her shop back on track. She had arranged a deal with the manager of the YMCA to rent some space from her for her shop; had hired a girl, Linda, as her store assistant; and was out for the better part of the day handing out flyers to potential customers around town.
Almost all of our new agents are 20-somethings like Hellenah. They are who our company (Mobile Transactions Zambia; MTZ) will rely on to be the backbone of our network of financial transactions in Zambia.