Economic Empowerment

Posted April 4, 2017

Written by: Madalitso Banda

Decades of experience have shown CARE that when you empower a woman or girl, she becomes a catalyst for change in her community. When you give her a chance to start a business, learn to read, or participate in politics, she can create ripples of change that lift up men, boys and communities as well.

Since 2009, CARE has helped empower women in the Kasungu District through village savings and loan associations (VSLAs). One such woman is Damalesi Phiri, a mother of three in the Kanyanda Village.

Posted June 6, 2016

Written By: Priscilla Sogah

Mother Turns Change Agent


After spending a day with the people of Aki Kouamikro, a small community in the Western part of Cote D’Ivoire, I learned an important lesson: One empowered woman means progress for all!

Meet Elizabeth Ahou Yao, an enterprising woman of 38 who has a family of four. Until just two months ago, Elizabeth was illiterate but with support from CARE, Elizabeth can now read and write.

Posted May 5, 2016

At 37 years old Felida Kapheni Phiri is not only a mother, she is also an employer and a role model to most of her family members and women and men from Dunda village – and she’s the first member of her VSLA to own a motorcycle.


“When you look at me don’t see me as a mere woman. I am one of those women from the village but with passion and vision to see their personal life and that of others change for the better,” says Felida.


Posted January 1, 2016

According to a recent study, Americans eat nearly 10 pounds of chocolate per person each year – and our appetite for it isn’t even as large as in Europe where the Swiss eat more than 20 lbs per person, with Germany and Austria close behind. Although I am very aware of having a serious sweet tooth, I had never given much thought to where chocolate – or the cocoa that it’s made from – comes from before I eat it.

Posted January 1, 2016

Born and raised in the tobacco growing district of Kasungu, popularly known as the golden leaf town, Shyleen Magwede was made to believe that tobacco was the only source of income and that no money was ‘sweeter' than that from tobacco sales. "Most members of the community considered money realized from the proceeds of other crops like groundnuts, soya beans, maize and vegetables to be as valueless as mere paper and that a man's status was determined by the acreage of tobacco he grows," she recalls.

Posted December 12, 2015

When communities unite, everything is possible. The Join My Village project team recently brought together all 70 Village Agents (VAs) and trained them in a necessary and sustainable practice: the production of re-usable sanitary pads.

Posted December 12, 2015

Kweku Acheampong, 46, stands at the center of his 11 acre cocoa plantation after a good harvest. He inherited the farm from his parents who passed away a decade ago and today he watches appreciatively as a team of workers bring cocoa to a central point on the farm.

His gratitude is not just to his hard working team but also for the Cargill-CARE Prosperous Cocoa Farming Communities Project (PROCOCO) which has helped improve cocoa production in 110 communities in Ghana including his - Insuta Nyamebekyere.

Posted October 10, 2015

Veronique Pooda, 50, is a member of a Village Savings and Loan Association in Yaobabrikro, Côte d'Ivoire. Each week, group members contribute 100 francs. Every so often, members take turns taking out a small loan which they repay with interest at a future meeting thereby growing the fund.

Recently, Veronique received a loan to pay four people to clear the weeds from her farm where she grows maize, cassava, and peanuts for her family's food needs. She has also taken out a 15,000 franc loan to grow her small restaurant business.

Posted October 10, 2015

Sitting in the shade of tobacco plants in Kavalakwinda village helps keep the hot sun and dusty wind from our faces. "We are privileged to have a visitor like you today, and please feel at home," said Ligina Nabanda in her welcoming words as I put down my camera bag.

Ligina, has been married to her husband, Likiford Banda, for more than 20 years now, and they have seven children together. However, she's not his only wife. Polygamy, here in Malawi, is not unheard of but her complex marriage isn't the most unusual part of the story she tells me.

Posted September 9, 2015

Thomas Awuah Baffour operates a 14 acre cocoa plantation in the Tano North district of Ghana, where he lives with his wife and six children who are all attending school thanks to the extra income generated by his increased crop yields. Thomas' farm expanded from just two acres a few years ago thanks to successful growing and business practices.

Posted August 8, 2015

Women produce half of the world's food – and up to 80% in some countries – but own less than 2% of the world's land. One of those women is Safia Adams who lives in the Ashanti region of Ghana. Safia, who is 50 years old, has worked for the past four years as a cocoa farmer. However, Safia doesn't own her farm: she's a sharecropper, which means that she works land she doesn't own and must share the yield with the landowner.

Posted July 7, 2015

Aline Sip Hoho, 29, has been a member of a VSLA group in Yaobabrikro, a cocoa-farming community in Cote d'Ivoire for more than a year. The mother of two boys, ages 4 and 10, Aline's job in the savings and loan group is to oversee the group's funds. She was chosen for this position by the other members of the group because they all trusted her.

Posted April 4, 2015

Eluby Banda, the Group Village Headwoman (GVH) of Simphasi leads her community without fear or favour. When she is dressed in her chief attire, no one dares to take her for granted because she means serious business. "During my early years of my chieftaincy, my fellow women and friends used to underrate me because they still had that memory of seeing me as a mere village woman. I noticed it and informed my counsellors to warn them that if they continue disrespecting me they will be fined either two chickens or a goat each," explained the 45 year old mother of six.

Posted March 3, 2015

We are sitting comfortably on the veranda of a small house roofed with corrugated iron sheets. Rose Chidzawawa sits in front of me and to her left is Charity Phiri, my fellow pioneer of Join My Village (JMV) program in Kasungu.

Posted January 1, 2015

For our longtime followers let me take you back a bit; in August of 2012, I introduced you to Agnes Banda in a blog entitled "I am empowered" with this introduction: "She is not the only person whose life was at a standstill. The reasons might be different but the effects almost similar. Little did the women know that the coming in of Join My village will help them unlock fortunes and bringing new directions to their lives and that of their families."

Posted January 1, 2015

Atiness Banda and Yona Banda have been married for more than 20 years and together raised five children - three boys and two girls – but they also lost three children due to poverty. "There was a time where I could have a child and fail to produce milk because I had not eaten anything for days, and the end result was death," says 44 year old Atiness.

Posted December 12, 2014

We are honored to be celebrating five years of Join My Village.... Five years of expanding access to education and training for girls and women as a means to break cycles of extreme poverty, and sustainably strengthen impoverished communities the world over.

Thanks to you and thousands of others who have taken actions in ways large and small, together we've been able to positively impact more than 5 million lives in India and Africa since 2009.

Posted May 5, 2014

You may have read about her stories in the past, but you may have not realized that she is a mother to her own community. Name any institution in her village and the surrounding community, they will tell you she is a member if not a leader of one of those institutions. Enita Banda is her name.

Posted April 4, 2014

She stands on the veranda of a house built from mud bricks and thatched with grass as she welcomes me. “You can sit there,” she says while pointing at a wood chair which looks like it has been in use for more years than expected. “Takulandilani,” she repeats in her mother language, which translates to ’you are welcome’. This was one of the warmest welcomes that I have received in some time, here at the home of Liviness Phiri in Simphasi village.

Posted April 4, 2014

Distance is hardly a deterrent for this gutsy lady. She walks more than 3km, almost two miles, every day from one village to another, just to take care of others. Meet Rajkumari Devi, Anganwadi worker in Deothariya village, one of the villages where Join My Village's Maternal and Neonatal Health program takes place.