Teams Advancing Women and Girls (TAWINA) exists to support the empowerment, education, training and economic participation of rural women and girls in Malawi who are at risk of becoming a child bride or otherwise being excluded from full participation in Malawian society.
TAWINA has been operating since 2009 and has already helped thousands of rural girls and women.
Malawi is a landlocked southern African country of over 16 million people and one of the world’s poorest. It is bordered by Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania and was the British colony Nyasaland until 1964.
Malawi’s economy is dominated by agriculture with 85% of the population in that sector while requiring substantial foreign aid to meet its development needs. While Malawi has been relatively stable politically political and bureaucratic corruption has hampered efforts to meet the needs of the population.
About 9% of Malawians live with AIDS/HIV, the infant mortality rate is high and life expectancy around 50 years. Abortion is illegal with heavy prison penalties. There is a very high degree of risk for major infectious diseases, including bacterial and protozoal diarrhoea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, malaria, plague, schistosomiasis, and rabies
Malawi relies heavily on hydro-electricity but supplies are unreliable and sporadic particularly in rural areas. Telecommunications are improving but still poor.
Along with high maternal and child mortality rates. Malawian women and girls also suffer from discrimination, high rates of child marriage and early pregnancy, significant school drop out rates due to gender based violence,
The life of rural women is characterised as poor education, poor health outcomes, low status, low income, exposure to domestic and community violence, lack of access to resources and dependence on men.
The TAWINA Trust has set out to address the many issues facing women and girls in the Dowa area and has extended its reach to other communities. The TAWINA Trust sets out to provide programs designed to improve female education, provide new skills and access to basic economic and infrastructure in order to improve health, safety and income and importantly to build confidence, leadership capacity, empowerment and independence.
Water Empowering Girls – designed to provide an irrigated kitchen garden and small livestock training facility. Girls out of school will be trained and mentored in a variety of sustainable agricultural processes in order to gain the skills and confidence to become successful small scale farmers.
Strengthening Agriculture Livelihoods for Girls Education (SALGE) – commenced in 2013 and grown to involve over 100 soy farmer/mothers to create a cooperative style approach to marketing and in the future value adding to their produce and increase their financial ability to keep their daughters in school.
Early Start (ECD) Project – is supporting the Chikamwa Childcare Centre to improve its capacity to provide quality child care for local mothers to enable them to participate in training and education programs.
The Girl Inspire Initiative (G2I) – brings 500 girls together into 10 Bwalo la Atsikana girl clubs which provide a safe space to have fun and develop relationships and then connect with personal development programs and gain access to practical skill, education and leadership development opportunities.
TAWINA Girls Education Fund – Girls participating in G2I identified as at risk of ceasing their education due to family financial hardship are assisted with expenses such as uniforms, fees, learning materials and sanitary hygiene items.
Dairy Women Brainstorming Circles Project – improved dairy management practices for 10 resource poor women farmers and their families through training in better feeding regimes including production and utilisation of mineral blocks, backyard tree gardens establishment and brainstorming circles.
Mgonera Water Project – lifted the water fetching burden on girls and provided safe clean water in 7 villages in the Mgonera community by protecting two shallow wells by installing pumps.
Electrification of resource centre to enable it become a study, sewing and craft centre for local girls and women.
Solar Power for the Resource Centre – TAWINA is exploring the opportunity for a female community member to attend a Barefoot College solar installation training course in India and become a local leader in solar installation.
Renewable Energy Traineeship – The trained solar technician would be offered an advanced traineeship in solar and battery technology in Australia by the Australian Friends of TAWINA group.
Mushroom Farming – Taking the lead from the Zimbabwean community activist and mushroom farmer Chido Govera TAWINA plans to initiate a mushroom farming training project for local women using agricultural vegetable waste.
The local community, including both men and women, have been the backbone of the emergence of the TAWINA Trust and they have been successful in attracting support from international donors including: