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Malawi

13.2543° S, 34.3015° E


PARTNER

Girls’ Education NGO

FOR

30 young women
18-22 years old

LOCATION

Blantyre, Malawi

WHEN

July 22 - 27, 2016


This was the inaugural HER Global Zine Project. The focus of this zine was entrepreneurship - designed for the majority of young women who could not afford to attend university. Constantly faced with the challenges of poverty, gender violence, sexual violence and inequality, these young women concepted four companies that provides resources, support and opportunities for other women just like them:

  • CLACVO coaches young women to write successful cover letters and CVs to increase her professional opportunities.
     
  • Cuties Mansion Company provides entrepreneurship training to empower girls to be women with vision.
     
  • CREORAP announces job openings on the radio during popular programs so young women in the remote villages have access to job opportunities.
     
  • Future Of Hope Bakery teaches baking skills to young women while providing support and entrepreneurship training for gender violence victims.
 
 
 

DAYS 1 & 2 

Home Visits

Village visits are crucial to building a connection with the students. To understand context, their home environment and their circumstances only deepens our knowledge to more thoughtfully consider and customize our programming for them.

We visit 4 villages and 2 schools. We spend time with two students, their families and neighbors. We walk the mile from one of the student’s home to her school to experience the distance and conditions she undergoes every day. We speak with teachers and learn about their struggles getting girls to attend school and the pressures their communities or family members place on the girls to not attend school.

Despite the lack of support, these girls are courageous and adamant that education is the only way to make a difference in their lives. They share business ideas they’ve had post-graduation and speak openly of doing everything they can to postpone marriage in order to achieve their goals.

 

 
 
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DAYS 3-4

We’re Just Girls

We meet 30 young women in a yellow classroom in Blantyre. “You’re going to create a company,” we say. They look at us with blank expressions. 

In groups, the young women work to identify key problems in their communities. It’s a challenge to push past the thought that money will solve everything, that they, as young women, don’t have much to offer. “We’re just girls,” they say. But once they push past it, they speak of gender violence, low access to job opportunities, lack of professional training resources. Now they’re invested. They work hard to identify the causes of the problem, who it affects and come up with companies that offer the solutions they desire.

 
 
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DAYS 5-6

It Starts With Us

They come back determined to solve these problems. They come up with a name for the company and a logo, a marketing plan and a budget. They assign each teammate a position in the company based on their strengths - CEO, CFO, CMO, etc. Amongst themselves, they begin to say phrases like “my company” and “it starts with us.” On the last day, they create the zine pages based off the pages in their business plan. Together, we scan the pages, make design decisions and assemble the zines - an extraordinary collection of creative thinking, empathy and leadership.

This is their advice to themselves and to fellow young women entrepreneurs,
 “Never look down on yourself. Have courage to follow your heart and intuition. Know who you really want to become. Keep on challenging yourself.”

 
 
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A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

“Welcome to the first issue of 'HER' world.

"This zine will help not only my fellow Malawian girls but also all females around the world who feel that they can never make it in life. This is from us to you. It was once said, “the only way to make your dream come true is to wake up."

Are we all ready to wake up?”

 
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