By Linda Likomwa, 29 April – Malawi News Agency
Madam Mary Chilima spouse to Vice President Tuesday said women should invest time, knowledge and skills to achieve entrepreneurship objectives. Chilima said this in Lilongwe, during the official opening of a two day Malawi Women Mining Association (MAWEMA), Annual General Meeting (AGM).
“I urge you women gathered here to utilize these two days to address the challenges you are facing in mining considering that this job has few women in participation,” Chilima urged the women. She also said Government through the Office of the First Lady and Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare is ready to support women in mining sector. Chilima said women in mining can also contribute to social and economic development of the country.
Speaking earlier, Minister of Gender, Children Disability and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati said women in the country face challenges because they are not economically empowered and men take advantage of that and abuse them. “It is time for women to stop praying for their husbands who are not changing their bad behaviours, and start praying for their children for them not to pass through the same problems women face now,” explained Kaliati. She added that women should also start empowering their children by sending them to school so that in future they are able to make right decisions on how they want to live and whom they want to associate with. Kaliati also urged women to make friends with their daughters and be open to them saying that it was a thing of the past for children to know things from their grand-parents. She asked women to be pro-active for them to find markets for their products.
MAWEMA president, Emma Adam said government and donors should support mining women to be entrepreneurs as most of them concentrate on small and medium business because of lack of information on mining. She said mining is the back-borne of the economy in many African countries and Malawi can also boost its economy through it.
Adam however, said lack of good mining equipment, skills and training on the type of stones to mine for new members is the most challenge the association is facing. She further said the existing gaps in the executive committee was also another setback, but now that they erect new members to fill the vacancy, the association will achieve its objectives.
One of the women in mining industry, Agness Gausi who also founded Zimkole Mines said women in mining are facing challenges because they are doing their business in bush. She said middle men are exploiting their business because they buy the stones in a cheap price compared to international markets.
MAWEMA was formed in 1999 and has 54 members, most of them women and men are not allowed to hold positions.