Through village savings and Loans, Eunice Mikithayo is not only a livestock farmer but also a competitor in a male dominated barbering business. Her solar barbershop earns her a maximum of K1000 and a minimum of K500 a day leading to a reduced dependency on husband for household items and needs. She is able to pay school fees for her 5-year-old daughter.

Eunice is a teen mother aged 18, from Mikithayo village, Group Village Head Laitoni, Senior Chief Ngabu in Chikwawa district. She is married to Shepton Mibobo aged 32 from Diliza village, Senior Chief Ngabu. She dropped -out of School in 2013 whilst in standard 8 at Jombo primary School due to pregnancy which unfortunately the owner denied the responsibility. Her parents are ordinary small -scale farmers who depend on petty trading for household necessities. During pregnancy Eunice encountered many challenges including insults from her parents to an extent of forcing her to follow irresponsible man. Due to increased pressure, Eunice started indulging in risky behaviors just to get food for herself and her child. Thanks to Mr. Moyo, a Village Development Committee Chairperson who enrolled her into Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) Project at Jombo out of school club which its goal is to reduce Gender Based Violence and the spread of HIV/ AIDS through increased awareness on HIV.

Through AGYW project trainings and lessons offered by peer educators in clubs of 50 out of school girls, Eunice acquired a number of skills such as assertiveness, self-awareness and entrepreneurship. She became more interested to develop herself through business but had no capital. Upon being trained about Village Savings and Loans, Eunice was curious to buy more shares of which she did. Through loans, she bought 4 piglets which she sales when need arises leading to improved livelihood. To prove her self-esteem, she also joined a male dominated barbering business at her home which earns her K500 to K1000 a day.

I am very Excited to see where I am and where I am going. All this is because of referral agent through this beloved AGYW project who always encouraged me not to associate myself with any glass ceiling character. I know am hardworking in piece works but I had no idea of savings and Loans, I am able to plan for bigger achievements, she explained.

Her referral agent Mercy Nsona 32 from Phinifolo village, recommended the project for bringing a new brief to vulnerable girls like Eunice. To say the fact, Eunice is an example, she was once a stubborn girl but through counselling sessions that we conduct, she has completely changed, we see future in her and she is becoming a role model to her friends. we thank AGYW for its effort and its community involvement. We are empowered and we can groom ourselves more. Explained the referral agent.

Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) is a 3 year project being implemented by creative centre for community mobilization (CRECCOM) in Chikwawa district where it is targeting 11 TAS,116 VDCS and 115 schools aiming at reducing the spread of HIV\AIDS in the district through Global fund as a funder Via Action Aid the principal recipient.

  By: Kumbukani Ngaiyaye             

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