By Caroline Nyalugwe – Mana.
Thyolo District Community Development Officer, Joseph Banda, on Friday commended works by Chigwirizano village bank which has extended its activities to soap making.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency, (MANA) on Thursday, Banda said it is of great significance that women are extending their efforts to production of different products that help in the fight against poverty.
“We are happy with what these women are doing and it is our wish that other groups will follow suit so that together we can stand to make our livelihoods better.
“Village banks have been very beneficial to many households here in Thyolo and even Malawi as a whole so we are encouraging them to go forward with these initiatives
“Seeing our women venturing into value adding activities like such is a great sign that communities are changing for the better; that is why nowadays even commercial banks are going back to those village banks knowing many people have invested in those local financial associations,” he said.
Chigwirizano Village Bank Chairperson, Joyce Matemba, said soap making has been a very good source of income since 2019.
“We started making dish washing and bathing soap after World Connect funded us with K547, 000 through Centre for Rural Development which we used to buy materials for this project.
“We pay school fees for our children, buy food and other necessary materials for our families through the sells I and my friends make at the village bank.
“We have managed to switch from grass thatched houses to building our own houses with iron sheet roofs through the same soap making business,”saidMatemba.
Matemba further said that women have the potential to improve their lives through engaging themselves and actively participating in village groups so that they do not fully depend on men for everything.
Commenting on the matter, World Connect Program and Training Coordinator, Ruth Chamangwana, said that her organization is happy that their aid has been of much help to Chigwirizano Village Bank and that they have done more than what they expected.
She said that it’s high time women wake up and do the best they could in making sure that they generate income for their families and not leaving it to men.
Currently, Thyolo district has 1875 registered village banks.