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EU in Malawi Celebrates Breaking the Barriers Programme

24.11.2021

On 12 November 2021, European Union  handed over a sustainable energy powered ice plant worth 30 Million Kwacha to the Mwalamba Women Cooperative in Traditional Authority Namkumba in Mangochi District, through the ‘Breaking the Barriers – Women and Sustainable Energy (WOSE)’ Programme implemented by Christian Aid in Malawi.

Speaking at the handover ceremony in Mangochi, EU Team Leader for Economic Cooperation and Public Sector, Bartosz Studniarski, underlined that these projects make an important contribution to advancing the position of women in Malawi, creating jobs and opportunities for women entrepreneurs.  “We at the European Union are working with our partner countries on several initiatives to promote gender equality, renewable energy and entrepreneurship, and I congratulate all the Malawian women involved in our projects. Your tremendous work has really contributed to ‘Breaking the barriers,” he said.

Breaking the Barriers is a multi-country programme that Christian Aid is implementing in Malawi, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Honduras to increase rural women’s jobs and income in the sustainable energy sector through Women-Led Sustainable Energy Enterprises (WLSEEs).

In Malawi, the project is being implemented in Karonga, Chikwawa and Mangochi with a total funding of 1,535,010.77 Euros. The global funding for the project is 6,173,615.03 Euros.

550 women in Karonga, Chikwawa, and Mangochi districts have been organised and structured into 38 Women-Led Sustainable Energy Enterprises (WLSEEs). The WLSEEs are registered as marketing and processing cooperatives with a key focus on rice, fish, and horticultural value chains.

The project has supported the WLSEEs with financial grants (in form of machinery and infrastructure) and soft loans to produce and sell quality processed rice, briquettes, fish, and horticultural products using sustainable energy technologies. The project has also supported the WLSEEs with business, relationship, and technical skills.

The Breaking the Barriers initiative in Malawi has helped to

  • Create 710 rural women’s jobs in the sustainable energy sector thus promoting gender equality.
  • Increase income for 550 rural women thereby positively impacting on their living conditions, and well-being through their access to sustainable energy technologies and related sub-products and services.
  • Strengthen social status of and the voice of women in the energy sector evidenced through the creation of a Gender and Energy platform to advance grassroots women led advocacy in energy and climate change issues.

A cross section of people drawn from various sectors including government, civil society organisations, the community, and the media attended the handover event.