Functional literacy-related challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Lusaka
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The purpose of this study was to explore functional literacy related challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Lusaka district. The objectives of the study were to: identify functional literacy programmes (FLPs) for women entrepreneurs available in Lusaka district; determine how women entrepreneurs participate in functional literacy programmes offered in Lusaka district; establish functional literacy-related challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Lusaka district; and propose strategies that can address functional literacy related challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Lusaka district. A descriptive research design was employed. A sample of 65 respondents was used comprising 50 women entrepreneurs and 15 officers from non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Interview guides and observation checklists were used for data collection. The study revealed that functional literacy programmes available in Lusaka district included skills development, educational literacy and awareness literacy. Other programmes included financial and accounting training as well as survival skills. It also revealed that participation of women in functional related programmes was low despite the NGOs respondents indicating a high participation of women entrepreneurs in their programmes. The study also indicted that challenges faced by women entrepreneurs included inadequate funding, lack of business information, low business returns, competition, poor record keeping, inadequate selling space, and lack of supportive materials. Proposed strategies aimed at addressing these challenges included creating favourable lending rates by banks, creation of market places and providing women empowerment programmes. The study recommended that: the government should increase the number of functional Literacy programmes to encourage more women to participate; NGOs should come up with better and efficient ways of reaching women and make their programmes attractive so as to encourage high participation; government should invest more in public infrastructure such as schools and markets to provide most women with literacy and better trading places; the government should consider creating a special revolving fund that can be accessed by women entrepreneurs to help with their capital needs. Key words: Functional literacy, Entrepreneurship, women.
University of Zambia