Women Small Enterprise Development

Embassy of the United States of America

Public Affairs Section

Old Mutual Building

P.O. Box 30016

Lilongwe 3, Malawi

Internet:          https://mw.usembassy.gov/

Facebook:       U.S. Embassy Lilongwe

Tel:                  (265) 1 772-222/414/992

Fax:                (265) 1 771-142

Contacts:         David Queen, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy

Marcus Muhariwa – Information Specialist, U.S. Embassy

U.S. Embassy Empowers Women through Small Enterprise Development

United States Embassy Management Officer Geraldine Gray Thibodeau today inaugurated a project dedicated to helping women to develop their entrepreneurial and income generation skills through tailoring.  The ceremony was held at Traditional Authority Malemia in Nsanje.

In June 2014, the U.S. Embassy provided a grant worth MK 2,565,276 (US$6,832) to enable the Sustainable Rural Community Development Organization to procure 15 sewing machines, tailoring materials such as fabric, thread and wool, and train an initial class of 14 women in tailoring skills. The grant was part of the U.S. Ambassador’s Self-Help Fund.  The community contributed building space for the women to engage in training, provided security for the machines, and collected cash contributions totaling MK 650,000 (US$1,727) for this project.

So far, 14 women have graduated successfully from the six-month intensive training and are expected to start their own businesses.  Others will continue to serve their peers as trainers and entrepreneurial mentors. In total, the project expects to reach 400 area women over the next five years.

Historical Background

Active in Malawi since 1966, the U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund strives to address urgent development needs at the local community level and to demonstrate U.S. interest in the welfare and self-help endeavors of local communities throughout the country.  The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund selects programs that 1) improve basic economic or social conditions at the village level; 2) have high impact and can be quickly implemented and benefit a large number of people; 3) involve a significant local contribution in labor, material or cash; 4) are within the ability of the local community to operate and maintain; 5) are a direct response to the initiative and aspirations of the local community; and, 6) contribute to income-generating activities whenever possible.