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Tawonga

CAMFED Association member and Agriculture Program Assistant, Malawi

My name is Tawonga Zakeyu, I am 24 years old, and I am the first born in a family of 13. I come from Machinga District in Malawi.

Just like many kids from rural areas who can’t afford private education, I went to a government primary and secondary school. The first two terms of my secondary studies were hard due to the financial status of my family, it was hard for my father to source funds for my studies. That was when CAMFED came to my rescue and started paying for my studies.

After finishing my secondary school education in 2014, through some help from one of my teachers, I went to African Leadership Academy (ALA) which is a high school in South Africa. At high school, I had a partial scholarship and CAMFED continued supporting me. While I was still at ALA, I applied to EARTH University, and I was admitted under a Mastercard Foundation Scholarship. I finished my high school studies in July 2017 where I attained a high school diploma and in August the same year, I went to EARTH University in Costa Rica to start my university studies. I started my studies at EARTH University with Spanish as a second language classes, which were a requirement for students coming from non-Spanish speaking countries. In 2018 January I started my first-year studies and I just graduated in December 2021 with a Degree in Agricultural Sciences.

Tawonga Zakeyu, CAMFED Association member, Malawi

On the left, here I am at EARTH University, learning different sustainable farming methods, and on the right at my graduation ceremony from EARTH University, Costa Rica in 2021.

During the fourth year of my studies, I worked with CAMFED Malawi as an intern at district level. I am very interested in girl child education and women, and CAMFED was the only place I felt like I could do what I was really interested in. 

Being a CAMFED Association member, working with CAMFED was my way of giving back by helping other girls get educated and see them become empowered and prosper in life.

Currently I am working with CAMFED Malawi under the Agriculture Guide program as a fellow with the EARTH University Mastercard Foundation Fellowship program.  The Agriculture Guide program is a program which CAMFED has recently introduced to support young women farmers.

My work will involve training these CAMFED Association Agriculture Guides, especially in climate-smart Agriculture.

They will then work together with the Core Trainers to support young women farmers to grow their farms into profitable business, increase their yields, profit and revenue and create jobs for other young people. This will also allow them to get more involved in philanthropy, supporting more girls through school. Through the program, many young women will be able to tackle climate change related problems and be able to develop their families and communities in a very sustainable way. 

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