By: Aubrey Bunguzu
This is the first success story of the Women and Girls Program that Lutheran Hour Ministry is implementing at Mkanda Area in Mchinji Distrct-Malawi.
Women and Girls program is an empowerment outreach program that targets vulnerable women and young girls through micro-financing in remotest areas where poverty is affecting women and girls most.
Men leaving families for employment in towns, premature deaths of husbands, gender unbalance and violence in families, food insecurity due to erratic and unreliable rainfall are some of the underlying causes of women poverty in Mchinji and other districts in Malawi.
“Just like women, young girls are also facing challenges ranging from drop out from school for lacking financial supporting, early pregnancies and marriages because many girls come from poor female-headed families that fail to support them.” Reports villagehead Mndaka at ground opening function.
Mndaka is one among 10 villages whose women and girls are benefiting from the program.
Making the first monitoring exercise to the program that was established in March, 2016, the team visited ten selected beneficiaries at various villages to find out how the program can best assist them. Though the reaction was a mixed bag, the program will still make a very big impact to many households in the area.
Mrs. Lilian Mangwere is one of women who is making money, and believes will grow with it.
“I decided to make small-scale investment in vegetable gardening with the seed money that I received from Lutheran Hour Ministry last month, and have started selling my produce to the vendors in the market.”Lilian reports.
Growing vegetables for cash is a relatively big deal of making money in remotest areas in Mchinji, especially during the dry season that if treated well vegetables will still sell for a time period.
Lilian used the seed money to buy fertilizers and increase the production of vegetables, a small-scale economic system that normally lasts for three to four months.
She added that by September this year she expects to purchase at least enough bags of fertilizers and seeds for her small garden in preparation for the next growing season.
In a country that is facing serious hunger and food insecurity this year, many women and girls at Mkanda area have embarked on trading in maize imported from distant places at a reasonable profit.
With varying talents, some women and girls have also invested in small-scale livestock production, raring chickens, guinea fowls, pigeons, others are keeping goats.
The women and girls program is expected to make life changes among the female households because most of the seed money is being invested in small-scale production rather than consumption.
The job of the LHM-MALAWI ministry, as community development workers, will among others, be facilitating the learning of basic economic concept of investing than consumption for the women and girls to continue benefiting in future, if not attainment of financial independence.
The program seeks to help vulnerable women and girls to be able to experience dignity through economic empowerment.