Original MP4 File
Makande Women's Group members
10 March 21
20 July 24
Breaking the Barriers
Eagles Relief and Development Programme
Climate Change, Energy, Food, Gender, Impact, Livelihoods
A Welsh version of the film focusing on the Makande Women's Group and Janet Ben, showcasing their Boabab juice making production.
Makande Women's Group is a Women-Led Sustainable Energy Enterprise (WLSEE) that makes baobab juice, supported by Christian Aid through the EU-funded Breaking the Barriers programme.
In Malawi, the combination of gender inequality, energy poverty, financial exclusion and the impacts of climate change makes life especially challenging for rural women. Women face constraints including lack of assets, limited income and restricted access to finance and credit.
To tackle these issues, the Breaking the Barriers programme (Feb 2018 - March 2022) is supporting women to establish their own sustainable energy businesses and promote gender equality.
As of May 2021, the project has directly supported 875 women, organised into 38 cooperatives, (known as Women-Led Sustainable Energy Enterprises (WLSEEs)), including Makande, Tsapa and Mvivi women’s groups. The women are supported with business management and training, as well as infrastructure support such as processing units, solar-powered dryers and juice-making machines. They also have a unique opportunity to access reduced interest bank loans to help get their businesses off the ground, and receive support in challenging gender imbalances in their homes and wider communities.
Since the start of the project in 2018, the women’s average monthly income has increased by 10%, which will continue to grow as the groups increase their production and sales. And 37% of women indicate that their confidence has increased to engage with the local authorities to advocate for their demands.
As well as transforming the lives of the 875 women cooperative members, the new sustainable energy businesses have so far created 188 jobs for the wider community. For example, local men and women have been recruited for full-time positions such as guards and accounting assistants and are paid a monthly salary, while other community members are provided with part-time contract work such as the installation and maintenance of machinery.
At its close, the project expects to reach 1,189,113 people in the three districts with access to jobs and markets where they can sell their products and increase their income.
More details on the BtB programme are in the Content-Gathering Field Report.