Empowering rural women in Zambia out of poverty

LUSAKA, May 10, 2021– By the time Sofia Chansa, 49, received a scholarship equivalent to 200 Kwacha, her life changed.

With this money, she was able to expand her vegetable garden – once too small to support her family – to grow enough tomatoes and onions to sell in the border town of Tunduma. Her vegetable business was so lucrative that she was able to build a house for herself and her five children. She also built and stocked a small grocery store to serve her neighbors in her rural village of Kayambi. Then there was the milestone she’s most proud of since graduating from the program; she connected her house to the national electricity grid.

“It’s something I never imagined in my whole life,” Chansa said. “I have now bought a radio and television set for entertainment in my house.”

In addition to the grant, Chansa also received training and mentorship as a recipient of Women’s Livelihood Support (SWL), a component of the GEWEL (Girls’ Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihoods) project. SWL offers women aged 19 to 64 the opportunity to increase the productivity of their livelihoods and economic empowerment, through training, mentoring, peer support, productivity grants and business creation. savings clubs.

Karen Mwamba, 45, mother of three, is another SWL beneficiary. She lives in the village of Mulola with her husband in a house that her parents left her when they died.

“I got married when I was 17 and, like most men in the village, my husband was a peasant,” Mubanga said. “We survived on the little we cultivated on our small piece of land. My husband and I were happy with the kind of life we ​​lived until we had kids. We had no way to feed or pay their school fees. “

With the production subsidy she received, Mwamba bought three goats and used the rest of the money to buy rice, and started selling rice in her rural community. Like Sophia Chansa, Mwamba’s business has grown and she has been able to improve the quality of life for her family.

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