Plot 57A Lukanga Road
Off Zambezi Road
Post net 745, Manda Hill, Lusaka
Agora Microfinance Zambia is a microfinance institution dedicated to serving low-income, rural households in Zambia with appropriate financial products.
Our mission is to contribute to the economic well-being of the poor through effective provision of appropriate financial services.
For full disclosure please
COVID-19 PROTOCOLS & PROCEDURES
AMZ will endeavor to follow the guideline as provided by Ministry of Health and other relevant authorities concerning the fight and prevention of COVID 19.
A. WHAT IS TO BE DONE AT EVERY AMZ BRANCH OFFICE
Branch management team will ensure the following:
1. Frontline staff (Client Officers, Area Managers and Cashiers) are equipped with the following:
· Disposable surgical gloves as may be required per day – depending on number of meetings
· Disposable surgical gloves will also be provided to Village Bank Presidents and SGBL/AGL Group Chairs
· Recommended face mask
· Hand santiser to be carried on person at all times
· A bar of soap that they carry for hand washing at meetings
2. Social distance is always observed at the office by all members of staff and clients coming to the office. Charges will be laid on staff found not to be complying with the guidelines to be strictly enforced by BM
3. All employees are mandated to put on masks at all times.
4. Hand sanitizer as well as anti-bacterial soap will at every time be placed at office entrance. Every person should wash hands before entering the office as per Ministry of Health guideline.
5. The Ministry of Health COVID 19 information brochures/fact sheets will be placed at Cashiers counter for walk in clients and general members of public are free to access them.
6. All branches are expected to enforce the No Mask, No Entry rule.
7. Management will ensure that all offices are sanitized every quarter.
B. WHAT IS TO BE DONE IN THE FIELD
1. Ministry of Health guidelines are to be followed in all group engagements with clients (group registration, loan application, and disbursement and collection meetings).
2. Client Officer will have the following before leaving for the field:
· Personal hand sanitizer
· Disposable surgical gloves for self and Village Bank Leader
· Anti-bacterial soap
· Recommended face mask
· Enough copies of Ministry of Health COVID 19 information brochures/ fact sheets.
3. The Client Officer will arrive 15 minutes before any meeting to make sure that there is a bucket of water. AMZ will provide anti-bacterial soap and village bank will provide water.
4. Everyone attending meeting will have to wash their hands immediately they arrive at meeting. Client Officer will wash first demonstrating how hands should be washed (at least 20 seconds of hand washing as per Ministry of Health recommendation).
5. Clients will sit in their respective groups observing social distance guideline – at least a meter apart. This should be maintained throughout the meeting.
6. After the opening Prayer, the Client Officer will sensitize clients on COVID-19 using Ministry of Health brochures and fact sheets which are in English and seven major Zambian languages.
7. Client Officer will enlighten the clients on the measures being taken by AMZ to reduce the risk of infection.
8. Client Officer will distribute 2- 5 brochures/fact sheets to each group in their preferred language for clients to take home and share with other members of the community.
9. Village bank meeting shall not exceed 50 people at any given time as per guideline.
10. Client Officer should make sure that recommended social distance of at least 1 meter is observed at any given time.
11. All group meetings shall not exceed 90 minutes. If meeting exceeds 90 minutes for reasons of delayed collection for example, the CO should use their discretion to dismiss the meeting and only remain with a minimal number of group members who can help with collections.
C. AMZ RESPONSE WHEN THERE ARE COVID 19 CASES AND BRANCH CAN STILL OPERATE
Some branch staff have tasted positive to COVID 19, but branch can still open for business. AMZ Management will determine whether the remaining staff are able to handle branch operation. If so, the following guidelines will be implemented (if not refer to next protocol – complete closure of branch).
1. Once the branch records a positive COVID 19 case, the branch will be disinfected immediately and all branch staff will be tested.
2. The affected member of staff shall be asked to self-isolate at home for the prescribed period by the medical authorities. Only upon recording a negative test shall the employee be allowed to report back for work.
3. The Branch Manager in the affected branch, shall assign another officer to take charge of duties left behind by the employee in self-isolation or hospitalization. This will be for all positions i.e., Client Officer, Area Manager or Cashier. Branch Manager will officially inform Regional Manager copying DCEO and CFO of the decision made.
4. In an event that it is the Branch Manager that gets affected, the Regional Manager shall appoint an Area Manager to fill the void or any person in the event that Area Manager has also tested positive.
5. Management encourages branch staff to proactively conduct their collections through the designated branch mobile money accounts to reduce on physical contacts with clients.
6. The Branch staff will be encouraged to spend less time at the branch to avoid over overcrowding. Staff will only be allowed to go to the office to collect their motorbikes and head to the field.
7. All collection money will be handed over to the Cashier or any other person assigned at the office and the officer shall then knock off.
8. All the branches are expected to enforce the No Mask, No Entry rule.
D. LOAN COLLECTIONS WHEN BRANCH IS COMPLETELY CLOSED DUE TO COVID 19
This is when Management has decided that the branch cannot operate as there are not enough branch staff to manage the branch operations - most of branch staff have tested positive to COVID 19. Management will determine the number of the staff that may be required for operations depending on the size of the branch.
1. Management will determine the feasibility of sending an officer from a nearby branch to conduct the collection.
2. The second option will be to push the collections to a later date to be agreed with the VB.
3. When collections are delayed, Officers will not be allowed to get in touch with clients to request payments.
4. Disbursements will not be allowed until the branch is fully operational.
C. AMZ RESPONSIBILITIES TO CLIENTS
Management shall at all times ensure to do the following communication to clients whenever a Client Officer is found to have contracted COVID 19.
1. The respective Branch or Regional Manager shall communicate through the Village Bank Presidents, to the Village bank of last contact with the affected AMZ staff member. This is to alert all those that would have come into contact with the respective staff member to get tested at the nearby health facility and take the necessary precautions.
2. Communication shall be made using the guidelines stipulated by Management
3. Management shall ensure all client gatherings observe all COVID 19 health protocols and shall provide masks, hand washing soap and gloves (to those responsible for counting money).
4. AMZ will follow ministry of health guidelines on group gathering.