Promoting young women’s entrepreneurship in Zambia
CAMFED Zambia has staged its first ever showcase to promote young women’s entrepreneurship.
Members of the CAMFED Association (CAMA) — the network of women leaders educated with CAMFED support — gathered in Lusaka to demonstrate their business leadership. The meeting was officially opened by the Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry, and was attended by representatives from CAMFED partner organizations, government departments, the private sector and the media. These included the Bank of Zambia, the Ministry of Agriculture, Cummins and the Embassy of Ireland.
The young women who exhibited at the event have founded a diverse range of businesses to meet demand in their rural communities, as well as helping them earn a livelihood, create employment opportunities and save towards their future goals. They are operating as construction workers, electricians, farmers, pre-school owners, artisan craft producers, tailors, bakers and more.
Tisiyenji Ngoma, the CAMFED Association District Chairperson for Kasama, has established a successful home-based bakery called Tisi’s Bakes and Cakes. She made a presentation at the exhibition about the importance of entrepreneurship for her and her peers. As young women from poor, marginalized communities, where formal employment is scarce, setting up a business is one of the most important ways they can achieve economic independence and avoid exploitation and early marriage.
Tisiyenji emphasized to her distinguished audience that the more a CAMFED Association member earns through a sustainable business, the more she will invest in herself, her family and community.
Her words are backed up by CAMFED research from a youth enterprise program in Zambia, supporting 3,922 young women in business.
It showed that following support, incomes — and the entrepreneurs’ philanthropy to support children in school — continued to grow over time and that 76% could fully finance the education of all of the children in their care.
As a result of the exhibition, several attendees — greatly impressed by the young women’s business acumen and commitment to supporting their communities — have come forward with offers of support or opportunities. The Teaching Service Commission has offered teaching positions to 15 Early Childhood Education (ECE) diploma graduates in government schools. Other partners have expressed interest in becoming business mentors and extending award nominations, financial literacy services or internship opportunities to CAMFED Association members.