Despite progress made in uplifting the lives of Malawians, women are generally treated as second-class citizens and seen as someone to look after the home and bear children. Malawi’s largest-ever population of adolescent girls (ages 10–19) and young women (ages 20–24) represents great potential. However, these adolescent girls and young women are negatively affected by gender inequity, sociocultural norms, and harmful traditional practices, all of which impede their ability to thrive, realize their aspirations, and contribute to the future development of the country. With low income status, adolescence and young women are taken as lesser human beings and they do not participate in decision making whether at home and community. The leading factor is their low levels of performance and completion at all levels of education and lack of opportunities to learn skills responsive to the labor market needs.
Currently we are implementing this project in Mulanje. According to Mulanje Social Economic Profile 2017 to 2022, poverty rates in the area stands at 65.3% which is higher than national average of 50.7%. From a population with income, only about 3.2% are able to save; 14.8% find it very difficult to invest while over 55% spend their incomes for daily food consumption. We are working to empower them to be self reliance.
Our project is aiming at empowering 100 marginalized women of 15 to 25 years old in traditional authority Nkanda in Mulanje by equipping them with skills and tools to become self-reliant through vocation skills and access to finance by May 2023. The journey started in July to December 2021 as a pilot where we trained 50 marginalized women. The project run from June 2022 and end in May 2023. With experience obtained through this project, we developed a strategic plan to reach 500 marginalized women by December 2025. Our Vocational Skills Training Center at Ntonya in Mulanje