Women’s Group Open Day in Malawi

In November, the women’s group of Mpalasa Village in Mwambo organized an Open Day in order to show case how they have benefited from the project!

The Open Day was fully organized by the women themselves to showcase how they had benefited from the project, and was presented to the Co-Founder of Maternity Worldwide, the Country Director, and the Zomba Civil Society Network.

As part of our Improving Maternal and Neonatal Health Project in the Zomba District, Malawi, we work across 80 villages facilitating women’s income generation groups to empower women by enabling them to become financially independent, and also by running maternal health education groups, so men and women are more aware of the risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth, how to recognize medical emergencies, and the appropriate time to seek help.

During the event, co-founder of Maternity Worldwide, Dr. Adrian Brown, thanked all the partners in a speech for helping with the implementation of the project. He dedicated the speech to the women in the group and thanked them for making the project a success, awarding them all with certificates of recognition.

The Village headwoman for the Village, who is also a member of the women’s group, thanked Maternity Worldwide for having fully supported the groups with the maternal health messages, which has consequently reduced the number of newborn deaths in her village. This has been attributed to the rise of the number of women who are now aware of the importance of delivering at the hospital. She further said that the seed fund basket which keeps revolving in the village as part of the income generation scheme, has helped to improve the people’s lives, as many women are now involved in profiting small-scale businesses and using these incomes to invest in their own wellbeing, thanks to the business management training. In fact, the group has managed to increase the amount of the seed fund basket on their own through the introduction of a 5% interest rate for each loan accessed!

There are a lot of benefits I experienced during the entire time I have been attending and participating in the improving maternal and neonatal health activities. I have been learning lessons which are an eye opener and very educative in improving maternal and neonatal deaths among women in the child bearing age’ Lucy Masaka, women’s group participant.

One member from the women’s group, Phillis, has been using the small loan she got from her group to run a small scale business of selling house paint. Through the business management training the project offered, Phillis was able to grow her business enough to profit, and with this income, she has managed to build a house! In the open day, Phillis spoke of how she is grateful to this project, because not only did it help in reducing maternal and newborn deaths, but is also changed her life.

Throughout the implementation period of the Improving Maternal and Neonatal Health project, all 80 villages have benefited from the income generation groups and the seed funds that come with it. The women’s groups, with the help of the Coordinators and all the facilitators who were trained by Maternity Worldwide, were working hand in hand through this integrated approach to make sure that the seed fund revolves among them, and that these women’s groups not only educate, but empower.