Women in Zimbabwe are financially underprivileged, even though they constitute a large majority of the country’s population. The cycle of poverty and gender-based economic imbalances feed into one another. Poverty perpetuates early child marriage, which results in premature pregnancies, vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and AIDS, and educations cut short.
In Zimbabwe, women are systemically treated as unequal to men. Social and cultural constructs have created communities in which men have greater access to economic opportunities than women. The reality of the situation is that women constitute a larger majority of the poor, are tied to rural areas rather than at the center of governance and human development, and are less able to access an education. This lack of education makes it especially hard for women and girls to overcome this perpetual poverty trap.
In addition, this deep-rooted economic marginalization of women in Zimbabwe has created an unhealthy financial dependence on men for survival. This dependency is what often leads to harmful practices such as domestic violence.
In order to combat the issue of gender-based economic inequality in Zimbabwe, WAP has launched an economic empowerment project in order to enable women to gain confidence through engaging in income generating projects that will help them sustain their households, send their children to school, and reduce the prevalence of forced child marriage. The project involved teaching the women how to raise broiler chickens for household sustenance and economic income.
The project has included a distribution of “Start-Up Kits” and an Entrepreneurship, Business Leadership and Management Training Workshop. The kits were given out on November 29th and 30th and December 1st of 2016. They included 500 chicks, 36 bags of feeds, feeders and drinkers, medical supplements, and one 430 liters-deep freezer.
The training workshop itself, which was held on December 25th of 2015, was attended by 40 single mothers and widows of the ongoing women’s economic empowerment trough Raising Broiler Chickens for Households’ Sustenance Project. The workshop itself covered the topics of poultry management, entrepreneurship and teamwork principles, capacity building (confidence building, advocacy skills, commerce, business management, and record keeping), marketing, and financial literacy.