On February 6th, 2023, YONECO Blantyre organized an economic empowerment session for women in Chiwembe, where they reached out to 32 women who had formed a group of 70 women in 2019.
According to the treasurer of the group, each member contributed MK1000 every month on Mondays, and the main objective of the group was to support each other during difficult times by using the money they had saved in the group’s bank account. YONECO officers suggested that the group start a VSL (Village Savings and Loans) program where they could contribute money and provide loans to members with interest to help them start businesses.
However, some members of the group were jealous and did not purchase goods from their fellow members, making it challenging for them to make profits. Additionally, some members were apprehensive about borrowing money from the village bank due to difficulties in repaying the loans.
To address these issues, YONECO encouraged the women to meet again on a Monday to learn new skills, such as soap making, which they could use to generate income by selling their products in the village. They also encouraged the women to hold various awareness-raising activities during their meetings, such as sessions on gender-based violence, family planning, and parenting. The participants were thrilled with the idea and warmly welcomed it.