Illiteracy Derails Women Empowerment in DA
Teams Advancing Women in Agriculture (TAWINA) says limited market information, knowledge and skills, low literacy levels, limited freedom of movement, lack of decision making and negotiation are hampering women’s economic independence in Dowa.
The organization’s Executive Director, Jane-Kopa Kamanga, says records from 2017 to 2019 indicate that out of its 22 women groups, about 974 women who are involved in micro-enterprises in dairy farming, soya bean, honey production, pig rearing and agroforestry have reached commercial status to attract large buyers.
"A lot of women in Dowa particularly in Traditional Authority Mkukula where we are implementing our project find it hard to realize their dream of economic independence due to low literacy level and limited knowledge," Kamanga said.
She said they are implementing the "Mayi ndi Mayi Pachuma" project to provide enhanced marketing information and linkages; Peer to Peer monitoring, community awareness as well as capacity building programs.
"The project is targeting 10 women-groups whose membership consists of 50% widows with adolescent girls at risk of child marriage and single mothers who will be equipped with marketing skills," she said.
The project is being implemented in three rural communities namely Mpindang’ombe, Kundwe and Chauwa –Mgwadula villages in Traditional Authority Mkukula in the district.
Janifer Zibwira from Mpindang'ombe village has hailed the initiative by TAWINA, saying she will be able to support her girl children in school as she will be financially stable with business skills she will acquire from TAWINA.
" Well, we are very excited with this project because we have been failing to realize our dream of economic independence for so long due to lack of knowledge and skills on business but with this project definitely we will be able to send our children to school," she said.
Another woman, Maligelita Kambani from Chauwamkwewo villages says the project has helped her in realizing a lot of profit from milk production
In "Mayi ndi Mayi Pachuma" project, TAWINA also conducts community awareness meetings in targeted areas every month with men, boys and middle men to break social barriers that affect women’s meaningful participation in marketing activities.