Moreen Zambezi a young woman from Chikhambi Village, Traditional Authority Kasisi in Chikwawa district. She is a lady that has made farming a hobby and a business making it catchy and that other girls from her village are now establishing vegetable gardens. Moreen aged 24 dropped out from school due to teenage pregnancy in 2009 when she finished her primary school. She did not manage to attend secondary school education, instead, she got married.
Chikwawa district is one of the hottest districts in Malawi which its maximum temperatures in 2019 could reach as high as 46 degrees Celsius. Irrigation farming is done along the banks of shire river. Farming is a challenge due to scarcity of rains, but this did not stop Moreen’s ideas of venturing into an agro business of a vegetable garden.
During the drought season in 2019, Moreen bought one goat at 15,000 Malawi Kwacha and it managed to produce three goats. Currently, she has 4 goats. Moreen as a single mother of two children was once a victim of Gender Based Violence and her marriage failed. She was being beaten by her husband. Her dreams of investing in agribusiness was awakened because of Village Savings and Loans (VSL) trainings by Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) under Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) project with funding from Global fund through ActionAid.
AGYW is a project that is targeting adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 10-24 to reduce incidents of HIV in Chikwawa district. AGYW project trained girls in VSL for the girls to be economically independent. Despite the maximum temperatures, Moreen decided to take advantage of the winter season to use the nearest borehole in her village for irrigation. “ I decided to setup a vegetable garden and sell vegetables. My aim was to save money from my sales at VSL group,” she narrated. Her vegetable garden has fruits and 5 different types of vegetables including pepper. From the sales in her vegetable garden, she is able to take care of her basic needs and her livelihood has changed. People come to her house from surrounding villages and nearest market to order vegetables.
Some of the skills that she benefited from AGYW is production of reusable sanitary pads.
“I have 5 pads that I no longer have to go to the shop and buy menstrual hygiene pads”, Moreen explained.
Before being trained in VSL, Moreen was doing nothing and had no business idea but she managed to venture into agrobusiness. Her future plan is to sell secondhand clothes, construct a house and buy a cow when she gets the savings from VSL at the end of the VSL cycle.
By Sekanawo Phiri