Mkwera- A PhD holder who strives to make impact to poor women through entrepreneurship
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Dr Hawa Mkwera (centre) displays her products during Taswe exhibition.

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YOU can believe or not. Dr Hawa Mkwera, a PhD holder chats with local women under a tree doing crochet business. She believes that education is nothing if it has no impact to peoples’ lives especially those of low income earners. She is self employed.

Dr Mkwera who has just graduated at Norwegian University of Science and Technology studied Human Geography and has many plans to do but one being the major plan is to serve women and children.

She wants to see women live out of poverty. Earlier this year she has formed a women group that aims at bringing women together for chat and crochet together. The group is based in Mbezi Mwisho near Agape Church in Ubungo Municipality in Dar es salaam region.

“I train women to find markets for their own products through various exhibitions. I want to see women do both family care and get income through crochet,” she said.

She said that education that does not bring impact to humans’ life is useless. “I can’t stay and be comfortable while seeing my fellow women live in abject poverty, it is not fair” she said.

According to Dr Mkwera, Crochet is one of her projects which she plans to do under her NGO called A Kid Nets (AKIN). The nongovernment organization which focuses on day care the idea behind on achieving children rights, building of school and farming She said women and children are vulnerable to poverty so she wants to make sure that they are supported economically and must be empowered.

“The idea of forming this groups is that, I have come to realised that some of my neighbours the women are poor and their children lack food, I have the heart of giving. I can’t be comfortable to see my neighbours keep on begging, I must support them” she said.

She said her group is going well and new members are coming in. “We started with few neighbours but as the time going on we are now receiving calls from new members from Masaki, Kinyerezi and Magomeni who have shown interest to join our group” she said.

She said the group has already participated in various exhibitions to showcase their products. “We are expanding our markets. We have participated in trade fair for East and Central Africa under Tanzania Saccos for Women entrepreneur (TASWE) in March this year” she said adding “We are also targeting other local exhibitions like French Bazar and Sabasaba trade fair where we will participate under Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce , Industry and Agriculture (TWCCIA) According to Mkwera the group has various products on store for show such as scarfs, caps, hairband, skirts, and dresses for children and pillow cases. “I’m happy to see that the future is bright for our group because our handcrafts people have started to appreciate them because our products are unique” she said.

Indeed, she said that she believes on preserving culture “We modernise, we innovate new designs just to keep our products original, we do not import any materials, we buy from our local products” she said.

However, she said as a premature group, they still face a lot of challenges. “We have no place for doing business. We are using my home ground to do crochet, we need a space,” she said, adding “The government must empower women especially the poor.

The government must go door to door to empower, to give loans, give education and seek their advice,” she said. The group main objective is to empower women.

It is believed by the founder that crochet business can be done in their homes while at the same time giving them opportunity to take care of their children and family and continue with their daily chores comfortably.

Eventually women will be able to provide basic care and need to their children and be financially independent through the crochet business. According to Mkwera the group expects to enroll more women in the group and sell more products in the future.

This will enable the group to have enough money and provide financial assistance to its members. The group is expected to secure a good health insurance plan for the group members and their families by December 2017.

Women are expected to receive more training in entrepreneurship and family planning next month. In Tanzania, many women struggle to access vital resources, such as land and credit, as well as education and economic opportunities.

For female entrepreneurs who are looking to start or expand a business, these challenges can seriously hinder their ability to achieve their full potential.

Tanzania has been, in many respects, at the forefront in strengthening the role of women both in the economy and in politics. Supportive legislation has sought to protect and enhance women’s rights in areas such as land ownership and customary law.

However, women often shoulder the double burden of both work and family responsibilities, and still face particular challenges in accessing credit to expand their business.

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