First Lady calls for more female artisans
By Wezzie Gausi:
First Lady Monica Chakwera has said Malawi needs to consider investing more funds in women and girls in the artisan industry.
Chakwera said this during the launch of Amisili Paulendo Programme, a brainchild of Skilled Women Artisans in Malawi (Swam), in Lilongwe on Monday.
She said the country has a long way to go to achieve gender equality.
“For the country to achieve Malawi 2063 [goals], women have to be carried along. Women need to be empowered to go for the career they prefer even if that includes artisan work,” Chakwera said.
Swam founder Mary Chokani Mphonda said she decided to form the group to address some of the challenges women face.
She said the organisation wants to empower and nurture women to become the best in the industry.
“We are targeting women in plumbing, electronics and engineering. We have 150 women in the group.
“However, the group faces many challenges as women fail to get jobs and internship opportunities. We believe that, through this launch, more women will come on board and help us,” Mphonda said.
One of the girls in the group, Mercy Kamwendo, said girls like her need to be empowered to attain their life goals.
“It has never been easy for women and girls in this industry. We are looked down upon and it is my hope that, moving forward, things will change and we will see many girls coming on board,” Kamwendo said.
The organisation was founded last year with the aim of bringing industry women together. Its vision is derived from Malawi 2063 enabler 1 and 5, which talk about mindset change and human capital development.