MWAPE MWENYA, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT says it will empower over 11,000 women in 11 districts with start-up capital through its Support to Women Livelihood Programme under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.
Ministry of Community Development and Social Services permanent secretary Howard Sikwela said in an interview that the programme is targeting women from vulnerable families, who are being identified by community, church and traditional leaders. Reverend Sikwela said the programme, which started last year, will support 75,000 women aged between 19 and 64 in 51 districts. “Each beneficiary will get over K2,000 as start-up capital, the women are undergoing training in various skills so that once they are empowered with knowledge, they can venture into various businesses,” Rev Sikwela said. He said Government wants to ensure the beneficiaries of the pro-poor programme are able to pay for their children`s school fees, and effectively improve food security at both household and national level. Reverend Sikwela said the ministry has so far procured 11 vehicles for the implementation of the programme in selected parts of the country. He said Government will ensure all 11 selected districts benefit from the programme by November this year. “This is to give time to those women who want to venture into agriculture time to procure inputs and plant. We do not intend to delay the programme as it may have a negative impact on women farmers,” he said. He said so far, women in Lunga district in Luapula Province and Lufwanyama district on the Copperbelt are undergoing training under the same programme.