Felista Pensulo is a 45-year-old single mother of four who hails from Kapile Village in the area of Group Village Head (GVH) Mpulula, Traditional Authority (T/A) Nsamala in Balaka district.
Life has not been easy for Felista after her husband, the sole provider of the family, left her for another woman in 2018. The turning point in her life came when she was identified as one of the beneficiaries of YONECO’s women empowerment initiative. Thus, Felista was registered as a member of a Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) which YONECO initiated in her village.
Before Felista got a soft loan from the group, YONECO trained her in financial literacy and agribusiness. The training helped her to properly analyze and understand her comparative advantage. Thus, after getting a soft loan from the VSLA, Felista successfully ventured into small scale farming. Felista cultivates various vegetables mainly tomatoes and chilli pepper which she grows all year round as she uses the nearby Liwawadzi river to irrigate her crops during the dry season.
The venture has helped Felista to pay back the loan she got from her group and she has also managed to extend her farmland. Further to this, Felista states that her life has tremendously improved within a short period of time.
“I am now able to pay tuition fees for all my children and I also manage provide decent three meals a day,” explained Felista.
Felista explained that she is currently serving some money to buy a treadle pump to easily water her crops as she is currently using watering canes for irrigation.
“VSLA is a game changer and I would like to urge all women to join VSLAs that are in their areas” added Felista.