Florence makes a difference in her village

As it appears in The Mast Newspapers of February 24, 2018-02-28
By Edwin Mbulo
A 46-YEAR-OLD Kazungula woman Florence Muntanga has initiated a skills training programme in tailoring for her village colleagues.
In an interview, Muntanga of Nalombe village said she first got interested in helping develop her village in 2014 when a group of villagers informed her about an organisation that was specialising in teaching rural communities in self-help projects.
The mother of one said she then initiated the formation of self-help clubs which led to the construction of a community school in her area with the help of a non-governmental organisation, Response Network working in Kazungula, Kalomo and Zimba.
“We were taught on various issues by Response Network who also encouraged us to be self-reliant and motivated instead of depending on donor aid. After these trainings we formed clubs that specialised in savings and borrowing. Our Self-Help Groups (SHG’s) raised over K1800 out of personnel contributions,” Muntanga said.
“Response Network then built a 1X2 classroom block, but we also started our own classroom block which is at window level. Last year I was privileged to be selected for training in tailoring which I started in April and completed in December last year. Thereafter I started to make uniforms for a primary school and later on managed to buy another sewing machine. I then realised that I can make a difference in my community and I then invited women and girls for training in tailoring and a lot of greatly improved.”
She adds that after a while she decided to diversify from tailoring in to livestock.
“I called for a meeting in January this year and asked my friends what they wanted us to do so as to improve our lives. I suggested poultry which was agreed on. I am still making school uniforms with many of my colleagues while, at the same time building a piggery,” Muntanga said.
She says the group is making uniforms for Mulanga Primary School and Nalombe Community School.
Muntanga says with the piggery project she has linked up her self-help group to an organisation in Zimba districts that specialises in rearing pigs.
And Elizabeth Banda Maimbolwa, who is Response Network deputy sponsorship officer, says Muntanga’s story was one of a few success accounts that has seen a woman get trained and embarks on a retraining of her peers.

“We are very proud of Muntanga and her initiative to train her peers in her village

Muntanga: Giving back to her community

is very impressive,” Maimbolwa said. “This is a true realisation of a saying that if you empower a woman, you train the entire community.”
She added that Response Network has trained several women in various skills at Zimba Skills Training Centre and the Youth Training Centre
in Livingstone, while others have ended up in teaching and nursing.


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