‘development is not sustainable if it is unequal’
– Irina Bokova, UNESCO
This week will mark several important events which recognise the importance of girls and women. With International Day of the Girl Child (11th), International Day of Rural Women (15th) and Malawian Mother’s Day (16th) all falling within a week of each other we want to celebrate the amazing women and girls we know.
Today, on the International Day of the Girl Child, we join the UN in recognising girls as a source of power, energy, and creativity. The Women of Temwa are no exception, and this week on Instagram we would like to introduce you to just a few (#WomenofTemwa).
“Since I joined AAC I have seen great changes in my life. After being trained by the Temwa staff and peer educators, I am able to send a message to my fellow youth, as being a member of the club means that you know the facts of HIV”.
Florence’s story shows what happens when you mix a creative, determined teenage girl with empowering, educational clubs. Florence, 14, lost her mother 3 years ago, so now looks after her younger brother as well as attending school. Although her uncle owns a business, they still struggle to afford stationary and school uniforms. Florence joined one of Temwa’s AIDS Action Clubs (AAC), to meet other young people and to understand more about the disease. What she learned at the AAC inspired her to act – literally! As a club member, Florence contributes to the fight against HIV and AIDS by performing songs and dramas that educate peers and raise awareness. She’s learnt skills, grown in confidence, and been crowned ‘Best Performer’, which she said was the best achievement of her life.
‘I was inspired to intern with Temwa because of their emphasis on community-led development, an approach where Malawian communities are the ones who guide the shape and direction of Temwa’s work.’
Becca is a University of Bath student who is studying Social Science, specialising in International Development and Social Policy. She has recently joined the Temwa UK team as part of her university placement. As a Systems Development Intern, she is helping to create an extensive database which will aid operations by mapping out our growing network. She calls Bristol home and is loving working with a charity which was established within the city.
‘I wanted to work with Temwa to help the community.’
‘Agriculture and forestry has allowed farmers to become self-sufficient when farmers have learnt new methods of farming, it has also helped to conserve the environment. When the environment is well conserved it leads to higher food production.’
Oreen is one of Temwa’s Area Field Co-ordinators, whose work concerns agriculture and forestry. She is passionate about helping farmers to become self-sufficient, conscious that a knowledge of both forest conservation and resistant agricultural practices is essential in order for this to happen. Deforestation and droughts have become a vicious combination over recent years, where the loss of trees has resulted in increased land exposure and the erosion of the nutrient-rich topsoil, which is essential for crop growth. As over 90% of the community within Nkhata Bay North are subsistence farmers, the consequences of this poor crop yield are profound.