The Girl Effect Accelerator


When Zoona was established in 2009 many of our first agents were female high school graduates who had limited opportunities to further their education or find employment. Zoona gave them a sense of hope and a way to find their purpose in their community.

They packed up, relocated to new towns, and flourished, learning new skills on the job. These young female pioneers embarked on a life-changing journey that shaped them into the entrepreneurs they are today. Word soon spread of their success and in 2014 the Girl Effect Accelerator came knocking.

Zoona was identified as one of the top ten companies in the world that focuses on empowering and educating women, bringing them out of poverty. At that time, nearly 50% of our agents and more than 10% of our tellers were young women under the age of 25.

Our CEO and CMO (Mike Quinn and Lelemba Phiri) were invited to San Francisco to attend The Girl Effect Accelerator programme, where they shared heart-warming stories of success and built up their capacity to make an even bigger impact. They returned with new learnings to incorporate into our model, and in January 2016, we launched The Girl Effect Project in Zambia, doubling-down on our relentless commitment to provide growth opportunities for women.

The Girl Effect supports our vision to improve the financial health and well-being of one billion people in Africa, and to fulfil our mission of helping communities thrive. To this day, 60% of our Agent network is female and we continue to see this grow.

Read Our Success Stories

“Three months into the business, I started realizing that, if I really commit, this is something that can take me far. It’s been 2 years and I have 7 outlets now, and I plan to have more. The impact on my family has been great. My sister is also an Agent now. I’ve also recently bought some land, something I never thought I would have. This business made me realize I could do bigger things, so I started thinking big! I see myself growing with Zoona.”

Memory Sapuwa [Zoona Agent, Lilongwe, Malawi]

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