Tiwale Community Based Organization

Tiwale Community Based Organization: Women's Center for Education and Entrepreneurship

Lilongwe, MalawiLilongwe, Malawi
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

We are building a women's center for education and entrepreneurship to further secondary school education classes and vocational skills training in Ntsiriza Community, Malawi.


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

We could spark an economic revolution by women in a space of 17,752 Square Centimeters?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Malawi is the world’s poorest country. Most families are unable to finance secondary school education for their children. Only 33% of our youth enroll in secondary school. And only 9% of the female youths supposed to be enrolled do go to secondary school. With the years, this pace has created a substantial population of unemployed women with little education. But even with school grants, women’s school attendance and performance is still low.

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

At first, to address the challenge of unemployment and little education among women in Malawi, we set up a business education program that came with micro-loans and school grants. Recipients of the school grants performed poorly with low class attendance.They expressed that the schools were located too far and they were unable to dedicate to the full class time with household commitments. They were also ashamed to be in a class with ‘children’. Therefore, we have purchased a plot of land within the target community where we will build a center to offer secondary school, business, entrepreneurship and health education. The space will also host vocational skills training program which sustain our programs through sell of products.


Women Deliver 2015 Youth Leaders, Forbes Africa's 30 Under 30 2015, Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, CGIU, Pacific University Emerging Leader Award, Ashoka Future Forward, Commonwealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development Work
Impact: How does it Work

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

If we build the education center and have our own space, we will be more successful with our initiatives as they will be more catered to our participants’ needs. For instance, at the space, we will hire our own teachers and follow a revised secondary education curriculum geared towards a more mature crowd. Furthermore, in the past we have been a mobile organization-renting spaces for our vocational skills training programs. As a result, we failed to expand due to storage and installation challenges. We missed a donation for sewing machines and also failed to collaborate Global Minimum to set a computer lab as we lacked the space. Building the center will allow us to provide more growth opportunities for participants.

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

For our business education program which includes basic business knowledge, leadership and self-empathy classes, we have had a participation of 150 women. From this group, we gave 40 women interest-free micro-loans ($50-$70) for a repayment time of ten weeks. Four rounds later, we brag a 100% timely repayment. We needed to become self-sustained, and so we worked with one of our participants to share the tie-dyeing skill. We rented spaces for pop-up training studios and 30 women have been learned. Together, they made 90 fabrics of which 70 have been sold via our online store securing us $2,520 to buy our plot of land and support 5 women’s secondary education grants . With the center, 200 women will be engaged through completing the Malawi Certificate of Secondary Education, health education such as first aid, sex education and maternal health and skills such as solar cooker building.

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

We will grow our impact through continuous collaboration. I have participated in programs that bring innovators together such as Global Changemakers, ALA, Ashoka Future Forward and TedxTeen. One result is a large network of entrepreneurs. For instance, I met David Sengeh at TedxTeen, and looked at setting a Global Minimum lab with Tiwale once we have the space. At Future Forward, Alain Nteff offered that when expanding maternal health app GiftedMom to Malawi, it will be through Tiwale. Our strategy is to create a center of collaboration for a constant innovative exchange.

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

Building the center allows us growth in production systems. We were limited to tie-dyeing as it is feasible for a mobile organization. We rented garages for production. However to grow into finished products we need to secure fixed capital for activities such as sewing/soap-making. In sales, our fabrics store has sourced US$2520 in a year at annual costs of US$600. With the center, we can pursue more growth for our self-sustained model.

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

There is a good sum of organizations providing economic opportunities for women (youth/older) by micro-loans/vocational skills training/education. Some of these organizations include; There Is No Limit Foundation, Microloans4Moms, Women’s Microfinance Initiative and KickLoans. However, most usually focus on either micro-loans or vocational skills. Education is tackled separately and mostly through grants. With Tiwale we provide economic opportunities with a required participation in our education program. Education is central.

Founding Story

I was raised to focus on school, good grades and getting a good job. At 16, I received a scholarship to study Leadership, Entrepreneurship and African Studies at the African leadership Academy. Here I discovered innovation. I could no longer wait for a job. Being in a community centered on entrepreneurship, my peers and I constantly explored business ideas to revolutionize our economies. And so even during the first year of Tiwale, I noted that after one week of an entrepreneurial curriculum our participants were talking business ideas during breaks. If we built such a momentum came in a week, imagine a full-time space dedicated to entrepreneurial thought for women.


Our team can be categorized into three groups youth management, community representation and mentorship support. The youth management is our youth-led aspect. Most of our youth team is still pursuing an education. Three of us did the diploma in Leadership, Entrepreneurship and African studies at ALA. Two youth members studied business management and one is pursuing education studies. This team comprises of the project director, education curriculum developer, business education facilitators and social media conductor. The community team is the community representation, it consists of our treasurer, secretary, community chairperson, vocational skills trainer and operations associate. Our community team are also participants in our programs, one of our member is the community elder’s wife which helps us get approval. Our mentorship team is what we would call successful Malawians, that have connections in the Malawian economy. They provide us with guidance and advice on conduction. The qualifications of the mentorship team include a lawyer, accountant, two business owners and an educationist. The roles include our financial directors, legal advisor and operations manager and programs director. In the growth of our team, we will be drifting towards more full time roles once our space is complete, as everyone is mostly part-time. We will also be appointing a separate board as our mentorship team currently acts as the board as well.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Email from Isabel Carvalho

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder & Director

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Through the weight of a need for action especially with the ridiculous percentage of peers who had left school early and were suffering to find employment and economic opportunities, I brought together a team of five other youths to take initiative. Together we designed a business curriculum that trained 150 women from the need-finding to implementation process. With our limited resources, my team and I guided 40 of these women in enhancing their business plans. I applied for a grant from the Global Changemakers which aided these 40 women to start business on interest free loans. They were profitable some even at 200%. The women successfully repaid the loans and have continued to date. The next initiative I pioneered was the vocational skills training program. One of our participants shared she knew how to tie-dye fabrics, using funds from the Future Forward award, I mobilized our team to set the training spaces. The program has aided 30 women to become experts at tie-dyeing fabrics, so far 90 fabrics have been made, and 70 of those have sold successfully mostly via our online store. We have used funds from the sells to purchase land to build our education and entrepreneurship center.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

WAFF Three Dot Dash Global Teen Leaders
African Leadership Academy
Ashoka Future Forward
Mount Holyoke College Entrepreneurial Support
Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit
Global Changemakers
Clinton Global Initiative University
Global Health Corps

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