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SHG – a lifeline amidst covid-19

Covid-19 has had a huge effect on Malawi as Nation. The Financial sector is one of the worst hit with many business owners closing up their businesses. Members of the Self-Help Groups are not spared, and some lost their businesses while for many others businesses remained stagnant because of the immense uncertainty poised by Covid-19 while others in the spirit of perseverance embodied in the Self-Help Group Approach persisted.

Juliet Kondowe is a member of Chigomezgo Self Help Group and her 14-year-old son schools at Rumphi Boarding Secondary School and was affected by the school closure and was at home. She relies on her small business to raise money to pay for her son’s school fees. 

Covid-19 affected her small businesses amidst a big uncertainty as to when schools will open and she will be required to raise money to pay for her son’s schools fees. Her SHG discussed the alternative business ideas in their weekly meetings to explore other businesses that they can still be able to conduct amidst covid-19 while attracting the required returns. The project Officer followed up on the discussion with a follow up training on business identification focussing on market research, gaps and opportunities.

Juliet grew vegetables which do not require more fertiliser at her garden (Dimba). She made manure from cow dung, dry maize stalks and other dry matter, she learned this at an agricultural function which was conducted by the extension officer in their area. When the products were ready for consumption, she harvested and sold at the market, where she realized MK12, 000.00 a day. The money realized was kept for fees while the other was used for weekly savings at her group and to support her family. 

Juliet was able to raise the required school fees and when schools opened she was able to keep her son in school. Our Self-Help Groups are life-lines, providing women with opportunities to save, share ideas and experiences and when uncertainties like Covid-19 strikes, SHGs have persevered.

Centre for Youth and Development welcomes cooperation with like-minded organizations and donors – in the case of your interest, contact us at info@cydmalawi.org

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