In case you missed it on our Facebook page… We have welcomed a new intern to the EKARI Malawi staff – Stanley Namakhwa! He is an EKARI beneficiary currently studying horticulture at the Natural Resources College and will be assisting EKARI with the Victory Garden Campaign in collaboration with The Face-to-Face Project!
As a member of the Mtambalika Village Savings and Loan (VSL) Group, Christina received savings, loan, and business management training through EKARI’s Sustainable Livelihoods Program in the latter half of 2017. Christina had attempted to run a Tea Room in the past, but the business failed due to lack of capital and business management knowledge. After EKARI’s training, she borrowed money from her VSL Group to both restart (~$18) and expand (~$17) her business. Last month, she calculated her profit to be ~$40, which allowed her to purchase food and school supplies for her children. She is so happy to be able to wake up every morning with a purpose and to support her family!
Many of EKARI’s graduates are currently underemployed or unemployed. Through EKARI’s Apprenticeship Program, we supported these youth by placing them in internships to hopefully yield employment – which has unfortunately not happened. According to the National Youth Policy in Malawi, only 30,000 jobs were created by the formal sector instead of the required 300,000 jobs. In response, EKARI is implementing our new Youth Entrepreneurship Program, which has two parts: a multi-year training course and a partnership with a local bank in order for youth to access business loans. We are currently operating a pilot course for 10 of our higher education graduates. More info to come!
In our November update, we shared that 100% of our senior year students passed their exams. Since then, we have assisted all 13 first generation college students with the higher education application process through our Higher Education Prep Program. We guided the students with their applications and also provided funds for application fees as well as food, transport, and lodging for college interviews. All have been accepted to multiple colleges in Malawi – nine have already begun their higher educations and the remaining four are waiting for one more college to release their acceptance list and hope to start in April. The students will be studying nutrition, public health, accountancy, and business administration, among others.
Throughout December and January, EKARI’s Entrepreneurship Coordinator conducted follow-up savings, loan, and business management training with five community groups through our Sustainable Livelihoods Program. Topics discussed during the training included costing and pricing, bookkeeping, management, and VSL shares and dividends. The feedback from the training was positive and productive mainly because participants were able to present questions prior to the lessons so that our Entrepreneurship Coordinator could cater to the current needs of our beneficiaries!