Improving Economic Stability for Women in Farming (IESF)

Year: 2020
Country: Malawi
Project Investment: $752.05
Project Status: Funded
Sector: Economic Opportunity

Project Launch: 4-22-20

The Improving Economic Stability for Women in Farming project will train 20 female farmers in sustainable horticulture production who will later be provided with farm inputs such as carrot, mushroom, lettuce and bell pepper seeds as start-up packages. Apart from the technical expertise and continuous monitoring that will be done by Tac Maz community organization, the women will also be categorized into three groups where they will be having fortnight meetings to discuss project progress. The community organization will support the women in accessing markets to sell their produce. In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the project will use part of the grant funds to procure soap and buckets in order to install handwashing stations in public spaces used by community members. This project will therefore improve financial stability of the farmers while ensuring that they are adhering to COVID-19 preventive measures to maintain healthy lives. 

Project Update: 6-30-20

The Improving Stability for Women in Farming project commenced in April 2020 with a $752 grant funding from World Connect. Using these funds, the 20 women in the project have purchased and sowed various vegetable seeds which include carrots, lettuce, and green pepper. Two months into the implementation, most of the women have transplanted their seedlings into the fields and are monitoring growth progress as they look forward to the harvesting period in a few months. As a result of the project, the women have been organized into a formal grouping where they have been trained in cooperative building and they are in the process of being registered as a cooperative. As a part of observing the measures put in place in avoiding COVID-19, the women redirected some of their funding to purchase 23 buckets and soap tablets which have since been distributed to the 20 group members, two chiefs and another to a local woman in the community. Tac-Maz continues to conduct monitoring visits to ensure smooth running of the project and providing guidance to the women where necessary. 

Final Report: 12-1-20

The Improving Economic Stability for Women in Farming (IESF) project has been successful as it has provided start-up agricultural materials to women who have since formed a known  cooperative in the community. The project distributed 10kg packets of carrot, lettuce and green pepper seeds to twenty (20) female farmers from Chiradzulu district. Each of the women grew the crops and harvested an average of 120kg carrot, 20kg green pepper and 50kgs lettuce seed. The crops harvested have attracted weekly returns of $8 (K6000), enabling the women to generate $32 (K24,000) per month each. The money generated has helped the women procure fertilizer and other farm inputs in readiness for the rain fed growing season commencing in November, 2020. This project was implemented at a time when Malawi started registering more cases of COVID-19. To abide by the preventive measures, the project distributed twenty-three (23) tap buckets and tablet soap for handwashing to twenty-one women and two chiefs. The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) helped the women to carry on with their farming activities with ease as they were assured of being protected from the virus.

The group, which started with 20 participants now has 79 members and the number is expected to increase to 200 by the end of the year. The formation of the group earned the women a $5,000 grant from Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) Malawi as leverage for the successful implementation of the AGC project. Using the funds, the women were trained and certified as a cooperative by the Ministry of Trade. The training, which lasted five days equipped the women with knowledge of group dynamics and cohesion as they were a newly formed group. The other funds, about $1,333.33 were used to procure farm inputs such as watering canes, sprayers, seed and pesticide which will be used in the forthcoming growing season. The leading organization, Tac-Maz enterprise is determined to establish markets for the women where they will be able to sell their produce and earn large profits. Thokozani Chimasula, the Established Field Partner and founder of the enterprise said,  “When I see World Connect, I see a possible better future for all. With World Connect funds trickling down to the vulnerable and marginalized communities to address what the people themselves identify as needs, there is hope for the achievement of most of the Sustainable Development goals particularly of Food security, gender equality and many more.”