With COL’s support, 225 vulnerable women and girls from Mchinji District of Malawi have acquired valuable skills for sustainable livelihoods. They have benefited from training in shoemaking as part of the Lifelong Learning for Mothers (L3M) project administered by the Concerned Youth Organisation (CYO).
“The shoemaking industry has been dominated by men, but with the L3M project women have attained shoemaking skills bridging the gender gap and eliminating the misconception that men are the only breadwinners of the households,” said Harvey Chimaliro, CYO Executive Director.
L3M has targeted mothers and out-of-school girls to equip them with vocational, as well as business management skills, and raise their awareness about gender equality, thereby addressing local cultural norms. Through project activities, local community women have been connected to micro finance institutions and markets for their products.
The training was facilitated by Chimwemwe Mwenyemasi, owner of a local shoe company. He noted that the industry has the potential for rapid growth in Malawi.
“I plan to expand my business and, with the great commitment and passion demonstrated by these trainees, we obviously have the skilled labour force readily available,” noted Mr Mwenyemasi.
Georgina Gama, one of the training participants, now wants to start her own business. She is hopeful that her products will sell well since they are of higher quality. Another trainee, Janet Kachauwa, said: “Shoemaking skills will help me generate more income and pay school fees for my children.”