Swazi Innovators for Change (micro enterprise)
Possible Dreams International (PDI) was founded by an Australian doctor, Dr Maithri Goonetilleke, in 2009, in order to honour the dignity of people in rural and remote Swaziland through a dual strategy of emergency relief aid and sustainable development projects. PDI partners with rural and remote communities in Swaziland, Africa to empower individuals living in an insidious cycle of poverty, malnutrition and HIV/AIDS.
PDI believe that health is more than medicine, thus their projects target the social determinants of health. Their Swazi-led paradigm ensures projects are aligned with community needs; local staff share language, culture, and community membership with the people they seek to support.
In the last 12 months, PDI has assisted approximately 550 people in Swaziland with various individual, family and community support processes, including 7 people currently supported with micro business enterprises.
The Swazi women PDI work with have a strong track record of making marula soap, mats, crafts, raising livestock and cultivating vegetable gardens to generate an income and support their families financially. From mid-2017 onward, Matsetsa women began gathering at the soup kitchen to create crafts. Some women had learned the art from their mothers, and a few teachers emerged in the group. Soon the women approached PDI with a proposal to upscale this enterprise: the Swazi Innovators for Change project.
This project involves a large group of grandmothers and women at the soup kitchen creating jewellery, hats, bags and grass sleeping mats on a large scale and selling these in bulk to generate income.
The Matsetsa Community Champion, Make (Mother) Shongwe, will coordinate the group of women. In PDI’s experience, women co-operatives are more likely to succeed when they have similar interests, shared ownership and supervision by a Community Champion without a personal stake in the co-operative.
PDI applied to UCF for a small grant of $2,000 to invest in materials (eg. dyes, string, plastic grass, beads) for a group of 50 women to create, transport and sell approximately 200 necklaces, 40 mats, and 60 hats and bags.
Expected profit would be 50-100 ZAR (~$5-10 AUD) per mat and 50-120 ZAR (~$5-12 AUD) per necklace. The women will then invest their profits to purchase further materials, and maintain a sustainable enterprise. Swazi Innovators for Change will enable financial independence, increased access to resources, and increased agency for Swazi women. The ripple effects of economically empowering women include benefits for their children, families and communities.
The project is expected to be ongoing; however, outcomes will be measured at 3 months, 6 months and 1 year.
The directors of UCF were pleased to approve this application and look forward to receiving a successful Grant Acquittal.