Tiwale Community Based Organization

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Tiwale Community Based Organization: We support and lead innovative, enterprising women to fulfill their potentials

Lilongwe, MalawiSouth Hadley, United States
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We are empowered young women overcoming poverty by creating sustainable ventures that transform our communities into flourishing hubs of young entrepreneurs. We aim to support and lead innovative and enterprising young women to fulfill their potentials.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

One woman's daily income increased by 900%; what if we did it for a million more?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Malawi is the 18th least developed country. Most families cannot afford to finance their children’s education. Girls are even less likely to be educated as they are married off early in exchange for dowry. Over time this cycle has created a large sum of women who are uneducated, jobless and facing extreme poverty. These women see opportunities, however, banks discourage them from innovation by refusing them loans due to their lack of referrals.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

With a large population of women who are uneducated, jobless and facing extreme poverty; our solution is to create more jobs and opportunity for alleviation. Firstly, we have our micro-finance loan program where we host businesses classes, that are followed by a business plan challenge . The plans are proposed to our team and the best ideas are loaned capital to start up. The loans are repaid within ten weeks through weekly audits by the Tiwale team. Secondly, We host vocational skills training platforms. We are teaching women how to make dye-print African fabrics and also how to rear chickens. These projects employ women and provide them with skills needed to secure jobs or start similar businesses in the future.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our entrepreneurship program has promoted women to see new opportunities. For instance in our 2012 entrepreneurship workshop we challenged women to come up with new business opportunities in their community. Angela and her teammates; Mai Juma and Mai Likobwe constructed a business model for selling chicken pieces. The team noted a strong demand for chicken as food but observed that most people could not afford to buy a whole chicken. With a loan from Tiwale, they purchased chickens, cut them up, and sold the smaller pieces to citizens. They bought a whole chicken for USD $3.65 per chicken and divided it into 20 parts. Each part sold for USD $0.36. For each chicken sold they made at least USD $6.08 in profits.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

To date, Tiwale has taught entrepreneurship skills to 150 women, aided 40 women to start their own businesses through micro-loans. In the next three years we aspire to have worked with at least 500 women raising their average daily income from USD$1 per day to USD$7 each day through employing them in our fabrics design project. At this income, women will be able to afford more daily expenses and on top of that be able to afford educational fees for themselves and their children. This will mean at least 3000 children will definitely be educated. The fabrics design project will result in the creation of a new market, which will bring in new income into the community from outside the community sales and foreign sales.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In 5 to 10 years, we will have expanded to various communities throughout the country, impacting 3000 women and producing 2000 fabrics per year. To do this our strategies are: Partners/Collaborations: For growth of our design program we will collaborate with designers and shops who can buy our products. This will allow us to venture into mass production expanding our fabrics industry. The collaborations with famous designers will also promote our products. Woman to Woman: This involves us working with the trained women to train other women which will create a larger fabrics labor force.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our project’s model is that of a social business. We invest in Ntsiriza women and buy production materials. We then produce 400 pieces of fabric. Each piece will be sold at an estimated price of $25 USD that conveys to a total revenue greater than expenditure. The design project is estimated to produce at least 150% profit, which will be reinvested covering all costs, and generating income for our organization and our participants.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In Malawi, we have many organizations developing communities and empowering women. Most of these use a aid-based or skills-building approach. Our Design Project is unique because it introduces a new market. Considering that many women in Malawi do wear African-styled fabrics, and yet most fabrics are imported, we want to introduce the skill of making fabrics in the community. The Design Project, introduces a new skill to the women of Ntsiriza community. It allows for the development of a new market of locally produced fabrics in our country.

Founding Story

When I was 12 years old, I started my own business. I baked cakes and sold them at church on Sundays. I was successful and was able to grow from one cake sold per day to several each day. My profits helped me with my personal day to day expenses. When I was 16 years old, I met a 17 year old woman, who had been forced to marry early and now had three children. She lived in extreme poverty and was unemployed. Her sole source of income was her husband who worked in the city, and did not earn much. I asked her why she could not start a business, and she explained that a bank would not give her a loan and that local village loaners charged insane interest. I was very moved by her situation and dared to create more platforms to empower women.


We are a team of 22; four of our team members are full-time and the rest work part-time. The roles covered include the project’s director, operations director, educationist, legal adviser, financial controller, secretary and treasurer. We also have a team of curriculum facilitators, social media help, fundraising team and various volunteers for miscellaneous tasks. We are a very strong team; all our team members have unique experience.
About You
Human Rights Watch
About You
First Name


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About Your Project
Organization Name

Human Rights Watch

How long has your organization been operating?

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Organization Country

, MA, South Hadley

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Lilongwe

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Foundations, Other.

Awards: What awards or honors has your solution received, if any?

Pacific University Emerging Leader Award -To be awarded March 2015
Pitch 3: Best Social Entrepreneurship Pitch - March 2014
Under35CEO’s Africa’s Remarkable 30 under 25 - December 2013
International Youth Forum: Young Entrepreneur of the Week - April 2013
Commonwealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development work - March 2013
British Council Global ChangeMakers - November 2011

Tell us about your partnerships

- In the past we have partnered with the British Council and Global Changemakers. We received a grant of 1000 Euros from the two organizations to initiate our micro-loans program.
We also later partnered with We Are Family Foundation, where the foundation granted us with $500 USD to further our micro loans programs.
We currently do not have any partners. However, in the future we are looking to partner with designer Nicole Hanley Mellon, who has already shown interest in using our fabrics for her designs.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Our main fear is the market we are venturing into. Fashion is ever-changing, we fear that designers may show an interest in african fabrics today but in the future, their interest might change. We plan to tackle this challenge by collaborating with various industries instead of just clothing industries. For example we will look into using our fabrics for various purposes such as table clothes, baby carriers, hammocks and phone covers.

How does your idea help young people create bright futures and improve opportunities for meaningful and long-term careers?

We work with young women who are unemployed and not enrolled with school. They do not have any of those two opportunities at hand. We create a platform for them to develop skills and also to be employed. This will allow them an income to afford basic necessities, and also to invest in education which for the future is essential to build careers.

Target Age Group(s): What age group(s) do(es) your solution target through it's programming?

13-17, 18-35.

Intervention Focus: Identify which of the following best explain key parts of your solution

Job Creation, Education - Extracurricular, Professional Development, Entrepreneurship, Training/Skill Development, Community, Online Learning, Mentorship, New industries, Products or Services, Rural Economies.

Do you have separate programs or initiatives that target the following types of populations?


Impact - Reach: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

0 to 500

Number of People Directly Employed by Your Organization

Fewer than 10

Number of Volunteers

Fewer than 10

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.

Create New Industries: recognize opportunities in the marketplace to build new professions or new markets

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.

Lack of youth empowerment