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Monday, 04 December 2017 14:31

Adolescent girls and young women hail YONECO for financial empowerment

Written by  Yamikani Yapuwa
YONECO Executive Director, Mc Bain Mkandawire YONECO Executive Director, Mc Bain Mkandawire

Blantyre, December 4, 2017: Adolescent girls and young women in Mulanje have commended the Adolescent Girls and Young Women Project, championed by Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO), for assisting them to be self reliant financially and enrol back in school.

Speaking on Friday, 19 year old Lucy Matewere from Songwe Village of Traditional Authority Njema said the project had enabled her to re-enrol in school after getting money from Village Savings Loan (VSL) which is facilitated by YONECO.

“I dropped out of school because my parents did not have money to support me but when YONECO came and provided us the adolescents with start-up money to start our village savings banks; I grabbed the chance and took some money to start up my scones business.

“Through the proceeds from the business, I thought it wise to enrol back to school and now I am in form four. I have managed to pay for my examination fees,” said Matewere.

Eunice Makwinja, 22 from T.A. Nthiramanja in the district who sells Horse Mackerel fish at Chonde Market in Luchenza, said she had started her business through the support she got from YONECO’s VSL.

“When the project started, we were told to establish VSLs and I took K10, 000 to start up my business of ordering Horse Mackerels. Now I can ably say my capital has grown to over K500, 000.

“I take care of myself and am able to send my kids to private schools without any problem,” said the young single mother.

Chairlady for Mwamadi Zotheka VSL group, Esther James from Senior Chief Chikumbu added that even issues of gender based violence among the group members have reduced since the young women and girls are empowered financially.

“Last year YONECO gave us K250, 000 to start up our village savings bank, now the money has grown close to K1.5 million.

“We have now gained respect from our respective villages and marriages. The adolescent girls are no longer used as sex objects since they have money and businesses to take care of themselves,” said James.

“For us young women, our husbands also respect us because they know that we can sustain ourselves even without them,” added the Mwamadi Zotheka Village Savings Group Chairperson.

YONECO Executive Director, Mc Bain Mkandawire, said his organisation was delighted with the impact the project had brought in the lives of adolescent girls and young women in the district.

“The project started in December 2016. Looking at the tasks we were given and the implementation on the ground together with results we are generating, I think it is giving us positive results.

“We have been engaging out-of-school adolescent girls and young women in life skills, economic empowerment as well as how to prevent gender based violence. Now we are able to see girls who have moved from low economic level to a surviving economic level,” said Mkandawire.



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