Women from Machinga District Traditional Authority Chitaganya have hailed UNFPAs Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Program(GEWE) for uplifting their livelihoods through the introduction of village savings loans program.
Speaking during a three day tour, chairperson of the secretary for the 25 member grouping, Matulasia Anusa, said the women also engage themselves in adult literacy.
“We have engaged ourselves in VSL, since 2013 and I must say the results have been beneficial to many, especially vulnerable women,” he said.
Another woman, Janet Nnukha said during the first year, at the end of the year, the group shared K13, 000, then K28, 000 last year she took home, K70, 000 which she has used to buy livestock, renovate her home, opened a small grocery and is ably paying school fees for her two girls who are currently in secondary school.
She also said when the women gather, they also have a tutor who help them how to read and write, hence improving their skills.
“You see if we are going to handle money or do business, then its only imperative that we also know how to read and write so that we are not cheated. In a business its costly when you continue to make loses simply because you cannot read and write. We want to live a better life and Gewe has helped us achieve that,” he said.
Implementing partner for GEWE project in Machinga, Wanangwa Mumba, said the women who were selected to be part of the village savings loan were those who were least vulnerable and facing a lot of problems.
He said the group included those who are HIV and Aids positive, those who were deserted by their husbands and widows.
“The overall objective was to improve the women’s livelihoods so that they support each other. In that way we are reducing cases of poverty by making sure that each household regardless of who is there is able to support and take care of them,” he said.
GEWE came to an end on 18th May after three years running. It was being implemented in 13 districts with finding from European Union and was being run by ministry of gender, children disability and social welfare in conjunction with UNFPA.