There are 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. Six 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.
More recent opportunities with groups have seen workshops making samosa’s, soap and business entrepreneurship, and there are opportunities to run your own workshop as a volunteer if you have a particular skill or idea!
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.
Volunteers can either assist with some of the current groups to encourage progress, or come to run their own workshop to share skills and empower women!
Currently running are;
- Tailoring groups who sell their produce here at Butterfly Space Lodge.
- 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 a constant source of 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. With this group, volunteers could help with their marketing taking the produce further afield, as they really need encouragement and help with managing their finances.
- Groups trained in making and packaging home made soap. Another project that could benefit from marketing and business 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!