Women Together Malawi - 2021 Year-End Update
It was a wild ride these past two years, and when we finally returned to Malawi in late 2021 we were overjoyed to see our groups not only surviving, but thriving! The businesses they had started back in 2019 had proven to be successful, providing economic security in a challenging and uncertain time AND bringing important commodities like soap and face masks to their communities.
Not only did our groups hone their skills, generate income and train other women, but they re-invested their earnings in remarkable ways - building new homes, buying livestock, sending their children to school, supporting elderly and orphaned neighbors, buying bicycles and even motorcycles!
And COVID did not stop them from envisioning a bigger and brighter future! When we arrived in their communities they greeted us with their plans and budgets for 2022 - including building a maize mill, starting a dairy farm, beginning a tailoring business, raising chickens and pigs, and starting a mechanics workshop.
So, our work is cut out for us, and we are excited to be on this journey with these incredible women!
Here are some highlights from 2020 and 2021:
Women Together Businesses
Business has paid off for our women's groups as they have gone from strength to strength making soap, sewing, producing cookstoves and clean-fuel briquettes. Their workshops have become centers of training and productivity in their communities and they have made sure to give back to through community service projects and introducing new groups of women to their work.
A corner stone of their success has been the formation of village-banking systems that allow the women to pool their money, take out loans for important life events and capital for their businesses, and to receive interest payments at the end of each cycle.
There is truly no limit to how much they can achieve with this level of determination and enthusiasm!
Our Business Training Team translated their english training manuals into the local language of Chichewa! Armed with this new tool they traveled the country, visiting each of our groups to follow up on progress since their first financial training, and help them to tweak their business for success. Each group received new skills, as our trainers followed them into the market to provide hands-on training in customer care and product presentation.
Girls Growing Together
In the last two years we grew from 20 girls to 150 girls spanning both primary and high schools and 6 communities!
During school closures our team got creative, launching netball games and holding outdoor classes and gatherings to ensure that our girls kept learning and did not become isolated. Although nationwide rates of teen pregnancy and marriage soared, not one single GGT student dropped out due to marriage or pregnancy.
Vocational training in baking and sewing are also beginning to pay off, with girls sewing for their communities and covering their school fees with sales from baked goods!
In 2022 we plan to expand the vocational training program and are looking for land and a building to house a new GGT Vocational Training Center!
Here Comes 2022!
Everyone is dreaming big as we enter 2022!
And so we are taking our game to a whole new level and beginning a major fundraising campaign to support our women and girls to grow and achieve what they know they are capable of!
We are proud to be supporters and want YOU to join us. Visit our fundraising page to find out more about how you can support our 3 priority projects for 2022!