Confronting the belief that women achieve less in society, Mapemba club extraordinarily came out the best to represent batch 5 of GIZ Kulima MIERA Project Peer Leaning Event (PLE) held at the Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe district from the 3rd to the 5th December 2018.
Mapemba club is an all-women’s club with 63 members who solely depend on farming for their livelihood. The club was established in 2014 with an objective of growing crops for food and to sell the surplus so that they can finance their household development.
In 2018, Mapemba club was trained by DAPP Malawi in Business development through the GIZ Kulima MIERA project. The objective of the training was to assist the farmer organization (FO) to develop business strategies that will enable it to grow into a viable farmer organization that has the potential to positively contribute economically to the club member’s families, community as well as the nation.
DAPP Malawi as a business development service provider for GIZ Kulima MIERA project successfully trained 10 Farmer Organizations of which seven are in Salima and three in Dedza districts on collective marketing, farmer organization techniques, business training and negotiation skills in the market in order to grow their businesses so that they provide goods and services at a profit.
During the event at Golden Peacock Hotel, the 10 Farmer Originations presented their plans and achievements following the training of which one Farmer organization was chosen as the outstanding one. Mapemba club emerged the winner through votes beating the other nine farmer organizations.
In her remarks after making it to the national level where they will compete with other batches, the chairperson for Mapemba club, Zainab Abi, thanked DAPP Malawi for the training that has opened their eyes on how to grow their businesses as a club. “Our wish is to be a reliable FO providing services and goods that will enable members and nonmembers to grow socially and economically” said Zainab smiling with satisfaction.
In addition to growing crops, the FO also practices fish farming as an Income Generating Avenue to finance the Famer Organization and member’s development.
Commenting on the development, the Trainer/Coach for the club Mr. Elvis Banda expressed satisfaction over the Famer Organization’s methodology that DAPP Malawi is implementing with the GIZ MIERA project. “It has shown that FO’s can quickly transform into viable FOs if they apply the knowledge attained in the training and coaching sessions under this project. Despite the short implementing period of the FO cycle, the FOs have already shown positive change towards being viable business entities” he said.
The GIZ Kulima MIERA project is being funded by the European Union. It commenced in August 2018 and phases out July 2019.
Mary, one of the newly enrolled tailoring students at DAPP Dowa teachers training college believes this is a dream come true and life changing experience.
“I have always dreamt of being a fashion designer. When I finished my form 4 in 2017, I was hoping to find a place which was affordable for me to pursue my dreams. Then one day, I heard from our Village headman that DAPP Dowa TTC is enrolling adolescent girls and young women in a 3 months tailoring course.” Says Mary
She didn’t waste time and immediately told her parents of this opportunity and on the 19th of August 2018, she found herself at DAPP Dowa satellite center ready to embark on this journey which will draw her closer to her dreams.
Being the last born in a family of 3, Mary, who hails from Besele Village in Traditional Authority Nsakambewa, Dowa, didn’t think that this opportunity would come so soon “I come from a home which is not well to do. My parents are farmers and they hardly make enough money to take care of my siblings and I. for this reason, I knew that tuition fees would be a challenge for them even if I was selected to go to a fashion design school. But I thank God for DAPP and this course. It is so affordable that when my parents heard that all I have to pay is MWK6, 500 for the course, they too couldn’t believe it. I was so glad that my parents could afford it” she concluded.
The students are taught how to sew 8 items which include; a school dress, petticoat, shorts, a skirts, caftan, a baby dress, a T-shirt and a national wear. “Our instructors are very patient, loving and caring. They really want us to learn. Honestly, they inspire me to do better and to believe that I can one day be as good as they are at designing clothes” exclaims Mary.
Mary dreams of being a role model for others in her village and share her skills and knowledge with them. She believes that she will one day be a very successful designer and a job creator for those who are struggling to get jobs. “I am so excited for my future, I know that from here, things can only get better for me” she says.
DAPP Malawi works with Sympany from the Netherlands to ensure that adolescent girls and women from villages that surround DAPP Teachers training colleges are empowered with tailoring skills so that they become self-reliant members of society.