In 2021, we expanded our Female Empowerment Programme to include women in our communities who dropped out of school. When girls in our communities do not complete secondary school, their professional opportunities are severely limited, and they typically rely on subsistence agriculture or the financial support of relatives and spouses. This expansion is an effort to equip these women with the skills they need to improve their income generation capabilities and empower a traditionally overlooked subset of residents in our areas.
In the Lower Zambezi, we began with a pilot cohort of 5 women, who have undergone 146 hours of financial literacy and business management training from October 2021 – May 2022, as well as 134 hours of adult literacy. In June 2022, the group of five decided to put their newfound knowledge and skills into practice by purchasing a bale of clothes from the nearby town of Chirundu, which they will then re-sell in Mugurameno Village. Through this exercise, the women will practice managing cash flows and budgets and experience running a small business initiative as a team. Thereafter, they will debrief the lessons learned from the trial and plan for their next business ventures.