by Ann Wigglesworth
‘Taking Steps’ is a project to support women's livelihood development. Covalima Community Centre and Friends of Suai run the project with funding from International Women's Development Agency (IWDA). Six women’s groups have started small scale livelihood activities in Suai Loro, Matai, Ogues, Salele and Lalawa. Some make Tais, others have started new agricultural activities, food processing or other crafts.
The groups Fitun Naroman and Haboras Goronto both weave Tais.
Fitun Naroman have started a small shop in Suai Loro (photo). Since the project started their activities have diversified to include rice production. Haboras Goronto have started chicken rearing.
Fitun Naroman members
Cruz Minarai group are making some lovely crafts including baskets and woven mobiles. Halibur Aikan Local (Halal) group have asked to learn some of these skills from Cruz Minarai. The project will support this exchange of skills.
Cruz Minarai crafts
Haburas Maudemo make banana chips which are sold locally in Salele and grow vegetables are sold in the Suai market (photo).
Selling Haburas Maudemo vegetables in Suai market
The Chefe de Suco of Maudemo is Maria Fatima who is the leader of the Haboras Maudemo group. In the photo at the group vegetable plot she is on the right.
Haborus Maudemo vegetable plot
The project staff visit the groups regularly to give support, organize skills training, and help resolve problems that the group might face. Another group in Maudemo are Halibur Maudemo making tempe. Alita, the Project Coordinator is in the background.
Halibur Maudemo group making tempe
The Halal group make banana chips which are sealed in plastic packets to keep fresh for sale. They are also planning to start a fish pond.
Halal group make banana chips
Filizarda, the leader of the Halal group, said that her role as the women’s representative on the Suco Council now has more meaning than before because can represent the views of other women and also inform them about the other women's issues in the Suco. (Suco - small village)
Maria Fatima and Filizarda attended a women's meeting at the Friends of Suai community centre to discuss coordination with and support of the Gender Focal Point, who is the government's representative, to ensure gender issues are considered in all government programs.
Taking Steps is an exciting new project
with potential to reach out to more women. It is about women forming groups, sharing, learning and building confidence and leadership. FOS is commited to ensuring that funding for this project will enable the project to continue to support women of Covalima.