Empowering women through workshops, skill sharing and creating opportunities.
In the acknowledgment that women still face significant inequality in society in Malawi, our women’s groups have been established to share and develop skills and resources, and inspire women around Nkhata Bay to be confident and self sufficient. Leading a women’s group brings new ideas and skills which can both empower local women, and provide them with the means to support themselves financially.
How You Can Get Involved
Do you want to lead your own women’s group and share your skills in Malawi? Setting up workshops can be invaluable to local women, and provide so much skill, knowledge, and fun while empowering and giving women the tools and means to support themselves. Previous groups have taught groups to make and sell home made peanut butter, soap, tailoring, grow and cook using turmeric, garlic and ginger, basket weaving, massage and more. We aim to take a holistic approach to sustainable development through these groups, sharing information, ideas, opportunities, successes and celebrating our achievements.
There are still many women’s groups who use Butterfly Space both to gain skills and information and also as a place to sell their produce. It is an excellent all-encompassing idea that consistently brings the community together in a pro-active way. There are numerous groups throughout Nkhata Bay doing a variety of things, some independently and some linked to Butterfly.
One of our most successful groups was initiated by Hayley Woodyatt, who taught the women to make delicious home-made peanut butter. Seven years on, their business is still going strong! You can buy this product in reception at Butterfly Space Non Profit Lodge and it is a best seller! We have also initiated many nutritional workshops with different groups promoting ingredients like ginger, turmeric, garlic and moringa, holding group cooking sessions to show people how to incorporate it into their diet. All the recipes and information can subsequently be found in the Information Centre for the wider community to access free of charge.
In April 2015 we held a Women’s Week at Butterfly and had a week of activities from making soya milk and fire reducing stoves, to natural medicine, jewelry making and motivational films and talks. It was a brilliant success with over 60 women attending daily and we hope this will let more women know about the opportunities and links that we are trying to offer them.
More recent opportunities with groups have seen workshops making samosa’s, hand-made soaps, and business entrepreneurship, and there are many opportunities if you want to run your own workshop using your particular skills and ideas!
Volunteering With Women's Groups
Volunteers can either assist with some of the current groups to encourage progress, or come to run their own workshop.
Currently groups include;
- Tailoring groups.
- Massage therapists who learned professional massage through workshops held by volunteers at Butterfly, and now offer their services to guests weekly!
- The Butterfly Baby Baskets, supported by Genna Davies who taught women to weave moses baskets, providing an income. They are filled with donated items for new mothers: baby clothes, soap, toiletries, nappies, chitenje, etc, then delivered to the maternity ward at Nkhata Bay Hospital!
- Kakumbi Peanut Butter group, who produce weekly in the village and sell to local markets. Volunteers could help to market and take the produce further afield, as they need encouragement and managing finances.
- Groups trained in making and packaging home made soap. Another project that could benefit from encouragement, marketing and management.
There is great potential with other established women’s groups to teach them their own product to sell. ‘One village, one product’ will take a longer-term commitment for volunteers, but there is massive potential to change livelihoods into the future.
Volunteers can also run Nutrition workshops – working with already established village groups’ workshops on ginger and garlic and other beneficial foods – here at Butterfly. Cooking up different recipes, showing them how to grow a variety of plants and enabling them to have some to take away offer people a real long term benefit in terms of nutrition!
More generally, many groups in the area need help with marketing, packaging, business management and sales.
Longer term volunteers could think of new items to produce such as rosella (hibiscus) tea, sunflower oil, etc. and work alongside a new group to make it a reality!