FARMSE aids single mother seeing light at the end of tunnel

Divorced more than 10 years ago, a 46-year old Ida Nguluwe from Chiyendamsanga Village, Traditional Authority Nthwalo in Mzimba District could not imagine running a family as a single mother.

Jovial Nguluwe narrates her ordeal that during her marriage years till she called it quit entering into another unimaginable experience of making livelihood alone.

“With support from Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprises (FARMSE), Heifer International trained us from village bank level where we were taught to come up with a comprehensive to-do list our life.

And I came up with mine [plans] illustrating where I am coming from and visualise the future where I envisioned to construct a decent house, venture into crop farming and keeping livestock,” narrates Nguluwe.

Having being fully mentored by Heifer International, Nguluwe embarked on implementing the to-do list where she invested her capital sourced from the village bank and invested in farming.

The single mother managed to start constructing an iron-roofed house in the course of migrating from a grass-thatched one which she is currently dwelling.

She said: “I have witnessed tremendous change in my life courtesy of FARMSE through Heifer International whereby I am constructing this house and very soon I will be dwelling in this iron-roofed house which is now at finishing stages.

“So I am able to differentiate as I used to do previously because presently I am able to set up plans in accordance with the funds I source through various means and know what to do with such funds.”

Nguluwe poses outside her grass-thatched house

Nguluwe, who now has a total of 9 goats, says she is now able to look after her family by paying schools fees for her only 14-year old son who recently sat for the 2021 Primary School Leaving Certificate Education (PSLCE).

Commenting on the development, FARMSE`s Community Based Financial Organisations (CBFOs) Specialist Kumbukani Rashid said the programme is on track towards achieving its intended objectives, which are, among others, development of pro-poor value chains, strengthen access to finance (particularly for women), and enable market linkages.

“From my assessment I believe as FARMSE we have actually gone far above our targets in promoting financial access rural people, for example we are using the informal way of VSLAs where we are targeting to reach about 3600 households.

“I believe the capacity that we are giving is actually skyrocketing them to make more and more activities that are bringing the aspect of money management and financial development,” said Rashid.

The 3-year project targets 1,056,250 Malawians through establishment of 2,535 new CBFOs and strengthening additional 5,915 existing CBFOs. 211,250 participating households are expected to move towards closing the Living Income gap.

Heifer International Malawi is implementing the Enhancing Community Based Financial Organisation Project (ECBFO) to improve access to rural finance services through strengthening existing and building new and innovative informal community based financial organizations savings and loans products.

FARMSE is a seven-year nationwide development programme being implemented by the Ministry of Finance since 2018 and it will run up to 2025 with US$57.7 million joint funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Government of Malawi and private sector participants.

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