CELEBRATING WOMEN IN THE TRADES

At Mponela Technical Community College in Dowa, Malawi, out-of-school girls as well as girls in their last years of secondary school are trying out a technical trade.  Building a picture frame in the woodworking workshop, threading metal pipes in the plumbing workshop and laying clay bricks are part of the activities to help promote technical trades to young women.

Will they end up choosing to enter into a technical trade?  The option is now there for them. STEP along with its partners are opening up the options for these girls to have a real choice in shaping their future.  They no longer need to take a traditional path.  Through outreach and information sessions, scholarships, creation of appropriate and safe training institutions, the Techncial, Entrepreneurial, Vocational Education and Training (TEVET) system is looking more appealing. Selina Mwenelupembe, the owner of a large construction company in Lilongwe is a perfect example of how women can be successful in the construction sector.  To help motivate young women, Selina shared her own story of how she entered into the construction field and the support she received as well as the challenges she encountered.  ‘The most important idea to keep in your head is that you are not alone.  It is a difficult field to enter but only because of the stereotype that construction work is only for men.  You have support and encouragement around you particularly from all the women in the room today’

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