Online Project Showcase

Community Champions – Swazi women driving change

  • Organisation:

    Possible Dreams International Inc

  • ABN or Auspicing Organisation:

    66 027 072 201

  • Scope of Activity:

    International

  • Geographic Location:

    Swaziland

  • Target Groups:

    Carers
    Mothers
    Rural / Regional
    Sexworkers
    Widows
    Unemployed
    Aged
    Adolescents

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Funding Information

  • Total Funding Required (AUD):

    13000

  • Current Funding (AUD):

    2000

  • Funding Needed (AUD):

    11000

  • Tax Deductability Status (DGR):

    Yes

  • Tax Concession Status (TCC):

    Yes

  • DGR Additional Information:

    N/A

  • Other Funding Partners:

    Private donors. (Reed Hastings Foundation has been a partner for other projects)

Project Information

  • Project Commencement Date:
  • 01 Jun 2018
  • Project Completion Date:
  • 01 Jun 2021
  • What issues are addressed?:
  • Swaziland is a country in southern Africa with a per capita GDP below US $10,000 per year, the world’s fourth lowest life expectancy, and the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS globally.

    Swazi women living remotely are among the most disadvantaged with respect to health outcomes, income and social mobility. This disadvantage stems from geographical barriers to education, health care, employment, water and sanitation.

    In Swaziland, women largely assume the role of carers, and endure enormous financial disadvantage. Income and food insecurity drive some women to engage in transactional and commercial sex. AIDS, poverty and patriarchal, patrilocal, exogamous relationships are implicated in the neglect of grandmothers.

    Possible Dreams International (PDI) recognises this and preferentially targets rural communities. A major challenge however, is reaching women scattered throughout Swaziland due to poor quality roads, inclement weather conditions, and long distances.
  • Project Description:
  • This project facilitates poverty alleviation through empowerment of rural Swazi female Community Champions. PDI’s Community Champion model solves for the problem of reaching remote women. A Champion is intimately familiar with her local community and well-positioned to advocate for them.

    From late 2016, PDI successfully piloted the model with Make Shongwe, the Community Champion for Matsetsa. Make coordinates the soup kitchen, identifies new clients with acute needs, and follows up micro-enterprises, while liaising with our central team. She coordinates a group of enterprising women who create jewellery and sleeping mats to generate income.

    We aim to employ three more Champions in Mpolonjeni, Sitsatsaweni and Lubhuku. These Champions would also supervise the building of pit latrines (toilets) and provide sanitation education. The grant will fund employment of 4 Champions for 3 years, building of 10 toilets, seed capital for the enterprising women, and emergency food aid.
  • Alleviating suffering / disadvantage?:
  • This project alleviates the disadvantage experienced by Swazi rural women by providing employment, entrepreneurial and leadership opportunities. In turn, these Community Champions advocate for food and housing for grandmothers and their grandchildren, improved sanitation (and therefore decreased diarrhoeal illnesses), income opportunities for women (thus reducing a reliance on transactional sex), and provide emotional support and guidance to widowed women.

    Community Champions are also advocates for decreasing maternal and child mortality. For instance, 39% of pregnant women in Swaziland are HIV positive. Whilst women are increasingly started on ART during pregnancy to prevent vertical transmission, food insecurity and lack of access to clean drinking water are poor prognostic indicators for the health of mothers and babies. Community Champions can advocate for urgent medical attention for Swazi mothers and direct women to PDI’s Maternal and Child Health Fund.
  • Changing Policy, Practices & Systems?:
  • Employing female Community Champions has potential to create significant impact across Swaziland. By nurturing female leadership, PDI seeks to challenge patriarchal governance and empower women to drive change in their communities and champion the unique needs of women.

    It is well known that despite providing two-thirds of the world’s labour, globally, women earn only 10% of the world’s income. Swaziland is no exception to this. PDI seeks to address the unfair distribution of income and economic disempowerment of women by providing income opportunities, skills development, and supporting micro-enterprises driven by women.
  • Investing in or empowering women?:
  • We identify women as Community Champions because they are far more likely to nurture and advocate for other disempowered women and girls, and invest in their communities. This project seeks to cultivate leadership and advocacy skills in female community leaders.

    This project recognises that women and girls are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and seeks to properly represent their voices. Through Community Champions, PDI can better address the social determinants of health in remote communities and thus invest in health, income and social mobility of women. Women will also benefit from improved sanitation and through teaching of budgeting and enterprising skills.

    In summary, this project helps women in two ways: PDI's decentralised outreach model through employing Community Champions is key to empowering female changemakers, and allows our programs to reach more women in rural communities.
  • Media / Promotion?:
  • PDI has an active website, social media presence and quarterly newsletter, which highlights our ongoing projects and the achievements of our Swazi female leaders. Stories of women in Swaziland and their unique challenges are told through speeches, forums and online (e.g. http://www.doctusproject.com/2017/03/19/working-to-improve-equity-in-health-and-gender-in-rural-swaziland/). If we are successful in acquiring funding, we can give greater focus to this project and the Australian Women Donor’s Network on our media platforms.
  • How is success evaluated / measured?:
  • PDI operates under the principles of sustainable grass roots community development, placing local Swazi people in the centre of the story and empowering them to become self-sufficient. Hence, we envision a long-term trajectory for this project and hope to build Community Champions as a permanent fixture in PDI’s future. At 6-month intervals over three years, we will evaluate the following key performance indicators: number of community champions employed; number of grandmothers with housing needs identified; number of houses built; number of people with acute medical needs identified by Community Champions, and who subsequently receive medical or palliative care; number of female entrepreneurs supported by Community Champions; number of women and families to receive food aid; number of toilets built in rural communities; and number of people to receive sanitation education.

Contact Information

  • Contact Person:

    Dr Nishani Nithianandan

  • Email:

    nishaninithianandan@gmail.com

  • Website:

    Click Here

  • Phone:

    0423274847