SEWA to help improve lives of women in Namibia

After improving lives of many women in Gujarat and other parts of the country, the National Insurance VimoSEWA Co-operative of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) has taken a big leap — all the way to Namibia.

VimoSEWA is assisting the Namibian government’s financial services authority, Namfisa and Fides Bank, a micro finance institution in the country. A team from SEWA, including Mirai Chatterjee, the director of SEWA Social Security, has visited Namibia and SEWA will be submitting the action plan soon.

“The need for micro-finance and micro-insurance is vital in upgrading the living standards of women. The major problems in Namibia that we realised are high mortality rate due to HIV/AIDS, alcoholism and the fact that the population is spread in a vast area making the distribution extremely difficult,” said Chatterjee.

Talking about VimoSEWA, the chief operating officer (COO) of the co-operative said, “The first insurance co-operative owned and run by women workers in the informal economy, VimoSEWA has combination insurance products and services – life, health and assets. The premium paid by the women range between Rs 400 to Rs 1,000 annually. VimoSEWA has 10,000 shareholders from five states – Gujarat, Bihar, Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Prodesh.”

Amar Oza, chief executive officer of vimoSEWA, while addressing the media on Thursday said, “The penetration of an important and simple thing like life insurance is only about 25 per cent. The penetration of health insurance is less than five percent. In the next phase of VimoSEWA, we are looking at business development, stronger after-sales service and deeper penetration.”


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