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Empowered Women Inspire Rebirth of Rural Zambia

6,304 empowered women are turning the tide of poverty and repression in Zambia’s Northern region. They are the beneficiaries of WEAVE (Women Empowered-to-Fight Aids and Violence Everywhere), supported by USAID and Nascent in Zambia’s remote eastern region. WEAVE women have recently celebrated world AIDS day, and raised their voices in 16 days of activism against gender based violence, working to end the blight of HIV, through largely attended sensitization meetings, HIV test provision, and fighting against a culture of repression and abuse against women.

Other effects of their empowerment can be seen in the K128, 221,500 ($25,600) the women have saved in community banks established as part of the program, and in the 1,172 small businesses women have started, greatly supplementing household income and strongly asserting financial autonomy. Women who previously had no source of income are now engaged in myriad enterprises including selling groceries, agriculture produce, livestock, fish, beer brewing, building stones, knitting/sewing, and fritters.

Enthusiasm for Literacy

Most remarkable is the great enthusiasm in the community for training in basic literacy and computing, which the program hasprovided, greatly expanding the business resources and know-how available to the community as a whole.

Assisting Malnourished Children

Kelvin Kuba a once severely malnourished boy in rural Zambia can walk and play again. His return to good health was also a principal objective of project WEAVE. The program in it’s third year has assisted over 2,010 malnourished children like Kelvin; of whom well over 80% gained weight while in the program, with 551 children being fully rehabilitated. The program has provided nutritional assistance through the Positive Deviance Hearth Model and has assisted families in the transition from the use of critical nutritional supplements to locally grown and produced food crops that have been identified as offering the required nutritional support. Nascent staff have helped in training for the cultivation of nutrient and protein rich crops such as soy beans and corn whose production will be supervised by local communities, government and volunteer institutions once the project is completed. Thus the positive trajectory for youth, health and welfare initiated by WEAVE in eastern rural Zambia, is ready to be continued in a sustainable, and autonomous way, by the happy indigenes.