Ukani Malawi – empowering women and girls to realise their full potential

Growing up, Temwa Chirembo and Modester Mangilani experienced first-hand the barriers to quality education, health and sanitation, and entrepreneurial development that many women still face today. As a result of these issues, there is a distinct lack of female leaders for young women and girls in Malawi to aspire to, and women remain marginalised in the community. In order to combat this, Temwa and Modester identified the need for a holistic solution that supports the overall development of women in education, health and enterprise, coupled with mentorship and training to build self-confidence. That solution is their organisation, Ukani Malawi.

Ukani exists to empower young women and girls in Malawi to become leaders and entrepreneurs.

Supported by over 200 volunteers, Ukani currently runs a number of programmes focused on female empowerment and gender equality. Programmes include: The Seed Grants Initiative, which provides young women with start-up capital and entrepreneurship training; a young mothers project which aims to integrate teenage mothers back into the school system through financial support and mentorship; and the Breaking Red Project which aims to keep girls in school by training them in menstrual health hygiene management, distributing reusable pads and teaching valuable skills on how to make them for themselves.

It is from the Breaking Read project that their social enterprise arm Bloomkins stemmed, where local women are trained in both practical manufacturing and softer business skills. The women are taught how to design and sew sanitary pads before leveraging their new skills to sell back to the local community and beyond.

QCT is working with Temwa and Modester to provide funding that will be used to expand their current organisational capacity, providing new sewing machines and helping to scale their young mother’s training centre. QCT will also work with Ukani Malawi to provide advice and guidance on organisational areas including safeguarding and financial management.

Ukani Malawi is working towards SDGs 1. No Poverty, 3. Good Health and Well-Being, 4. Quality Education and 5. Gender Equality.

*Article pubished: May 2020


Long-standing systemic gaps in education, health and entrepreneurism prevents young women and girls in Malawi from realising their full potential, limiting their opportunities to support themselves and their families now and access positions of power and influence in the future.


Ukani uses holistic programmes to empower women and girls through education and entrepreneurism. Training in practical tailoring and business skills provide the means for young women to start enterprises of their own, while mentorship and leadership education empowers others to achieve more.


To date, Ukani has reached over 2,700 girls and women, providing 1,500 girls with reusable pads, and supported 80 young women in starting and running small-scale businesses. The organisation has also helped integrate 20 young mothers back into school, and provided mentorship to over 1,200 girls.

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