Ukani and their fight for young mothers
Ukani Malawi is a youth led non-profit organisation that deals with girl empowerment and gender equality. It was inspired by seeing the lack of female leaders and female representation across different industries in society. The organisation runs a young mothers programme which aims to integrate teenage mothers back into the school system through financial support and mentorship. The programme is aimed at breaking poverty cycles among young mothers in Malawi by equipping them with marketable skills in tailoring, material refurbishment and shoe making. The organisation aims to groom future leaders, politicians and entrepreneurs by taking a holistic approach that supports the overall development of the girl child, covering health, safety, education and sanitation needs. The project stretches over 4 districts, that is, Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzimba with 160 volunteers who understand that when girls and women are empowered there is a positive impact in the efforts towards achieving sustainable development goals.
The organisation was founded by Temwa Chirembo and Modester Mangilani after they experienced first-hand the barriers to quality education, health and sanitation and entrepreneurial development that women in the country face. Due to these issues there is an obvious lack of female leaders for young women and girls in Malawi to aspire to and women remain marginalized in the community.
The organisation also has “The Breaking Red Project” which focuses on training young girls in menstrual health management and distributing reusable pads: providing startup capital to young women as seed grant initiatives; offering mentorship programmes; cervical cancer prevention programmes; entrepreneurship and leadership training. The Breaking Red Project aims to ensure that girls have the necessary materials they need for their menstruation so that they do not miss school or dropout entirely. The organisation prioritizes these practices in order to ensure the needs of young girls and women are met in order to create opportunities for those that would otherwise be marginalized for lack of access to the resources and platforms being provided. Ukani is registered with the Blantyre youth council and National Youth Council of Malawi and has other programmes that they run such as Bloomkin’s which is a social enterprise that is part of their sustainability program,the Secondary School Leadership Programme which looks to equip young grls with skills in leadership, entrepreneurship and advocacy through a series of fun workshops which provide access to role models and mentors, finally the organisation has the Seed Grant Initiative which provodes young women in rural arease with start-up capital to run and manage small scale businesses.
Ukani has graciously granted the Malawian Girls Rock team and interview with one of their mentees in order for us to gather firsthand information on the young mum’s crisis and how it can be curbed as well as what measures need to be put into place in order to create opportunities for young women.
Cell: +265 (0) 997 725 795