According to Generose Ndalami Dziko, there are many lending institutions that help businesspersons. However, she says most of them shun rural women, hence, her rising up to bridge such a gap.
The 48-year-old wife and mother of three boys derived means to help out fellow women by establishing Tingathe Women Development Programme (Wodep)— as a social enterprise to lend start-up capital to rural women, just to give them an opportunity to start small businesses.
Said Generose: “With experience in teaching and social work, I got inspired to do more for rural women. Those lending institutions which shun rural women have their own reasons, such as the lack of collateral and bad road network in rural areas. So, I felt if I didn’t do it, nobody else would. Then, in July 2017, after attaining training from the Social Enterprise Academy ( Lilongwe), I started lending out to rural women and registered it as a business a month later. I started with 20 women, but now have 178 women doing small scale businesses.”
According to Generose, she and her colleague Edith Naphiyo— who joined her later— fund the women from their Salaries and their loans ranges from K10,000 to K50,000.
Generose made it clear that the social enterprise —Tingathe has got three pillars.
lChildren’s education-No child should be sent back home simply because he /she did not pay school or exam fees, has no uniform and excise books.
lFood security – No child should sleep on empty stomach, this will affect his/her performance in class
lGood housing -No child should sleep under the roof that leaks. Children and their families deserve good housing.
So with these pillars, Generose believes that if only a woman could be economically empowered, she can in turn support her children’s education, manage to secure enough food and good shelter for her families .
Therefore, to achieve these goals, Generose said Tingathe has put in place other interventions for the women, such as ensuring their food security and promoting children’s education.
“To make food security a reality and sustainable, we have started to train the women in modern farming methods. I usually hire Heifer lead farmer [Mr Raphael Chikwense] to train the women in fertiliser multiplication and in ulimi wa mmaenje. From the area we started with last year, women have good stories to tell”.
“For Education, Tingathe is paying school fees for two students, a boy and a girl and the girl has just written her Form Four examinations. It’s my wish that the enterprise should reach out to more children, especially girls. During festivals such as Christmas and Easter, we invite the old women and give them a day’s meal as one way of cerebrating with women,” she said.
In addition, Generose said Tingathe loaned affordable cell phones to the rural women payable in installments for the improvement of their business through marketing.
“Knowing that we are moving with technology and that in rural areas men are mostly the ones who own a cell phone, it was necessary to extend it to women,” she said.
She adds that Tingathe encourages women to use mobile money for easy transactions among themselves and their customers.
“They also use the mobile facilities to save their money until they decide to expand their businesses or meet family demands. This has improved economic development and financial inclusion across the villages Tingathe is operating.
All in all, Generose said Tingathe’s purpose is to empower women in rural areas economically, socially and spiritually.
She advances that if the women are economically empowered, they would ably support their children.
Tingathe means ‘Yes We can!’…. ‘Women can’-which Generose purports that it signifies women’s ability to develop their families.
Generose has a degree in Community Development and a Diploma in Teaching. She worked as a teacher for about 17 years before working as transformation officer/ Social worker with Opportunity Bank Malawi for nine years.
“I am still working as an employee but do all other social activities during my free time.
Generose comes from Mbwindi village in Traditional Authority M’bwatalika in Lilongwe. She is the first born in the family of Mr and Mrs Ndalami.
“Lastly, I would encourage fellow women to take a chance in promoting a rural woman. Eighty percent of people in Malawi live in rural areas and a big number of them are women and girls. The unfortunate part is that women and girls are the most vulnerable, hence, the need for the merciful hand to reach out to them,” said Generose.