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.
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