Jane Chamvula is a divorced woman from Zoto village in Traditional Authority Kampingo Sibande in Mzimba district. She has three female children. Jane is a beneficiary of an ultra-poor graduation project of Pathways for Successful Transition (PAST).
Before the inception of the PAST project, Jane was living a stressful life as a single mother leaving in the countryside all the burden to provide for her children was on her shoulders.
“It was difficult to provide food, soap, and even school materials for my children despite being on Social Cash Transfer Program (SCTP). I was not budgeting money that I was earning from the SCTP; I did not know how to save and invest some of my money at the Village Savings and Loans (VSLs) and business,” she explained.
It was in 2019 when the PAST project came in with good news to help the ultra-poor households with different life-transforming interventions that Jane’s life took a new turn. The PAST project trained Community Theatre Groups (CTGs) that were equipped with the responsibility to disseminate Social Behaviour Change and Communication (SBCC) messages. Mbiriwiza (CTG) has been disseminating financial literacy, life skills, nutrition, mindset change, and business management messages together with Community Agent (CA) Doctor Lunda at Mbiriwiza cluster.
“I took the lessons seriously to the point that the little I was receiving from SCTP was invested in clay pots making business. Profits earned from my business are budgeted towards buying food, school materials for my children and invested at the VSLs. Some of these profits have been invested in livestock farming where I am rearing goats and chickens,” she said.
The transitioning from extreme poverty in Jane’s well-being was amplified after pocketing a total of 147, 600 Kwacha seed capital from the PAST project.
“It was more of a dream for me to receive such a huge sum of money; I immediately took 60, 000 Kwacha to buy three bags of fertilizer for my maize field. I managed to harvest 23 bags for the first time in my life as a subsistent farmer. I invested 35, 000 Kwacha to purchase paints and other materials to boost my clay pots-making business. The sum of 30, 000 Kwacha was used towards purchasing fertilizer and vegetable seeds. I cultivate rape, Chinese and mustard vegetables that are constantly providing my household on daily basis with basic items such as soap, sugar, and salt,” she explained.
Jane wishes to see her market base of selling pots extending to the urban areas. She sometimes takes her pots to sell at Mzimba main market. She also foresees herself having a mwana alilenji household as she has successfully got rid of hunger. This could be miles away from manifestation in Jane’s life in the absence of financial and technical support provided by Financial Access for Rural Markets Smallholders and Enterprises (FARMSE) in the implementation of PAST project activities.