RUNDU, 14 MAY – President of the Women of Value South Africa, Dimakatso Malwela has encouraged Namibian women to form cooperatives to help them onto the ladder of economic activity.
This, she said, can also be done with women running their own businesses so that when they all come together, they are better off at accessing opportunities.
Malwela, who is also the Chairperson of Women in Tourism for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), made these remarks at the official launch of Women Embracing Change Namibia at Rundu over the weekend, where she was the main speaker.
A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit through a mutually owned and democratically-run enterprise.
Cooperatives allow women who might have been isolated and working individually to band together and create economies of scale as well as increase their own bargaining power in the market, Malwela added.
She explained that Women in Tourism SADC came up with a programme where they decided to align themselves with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the National Development Plan 2030 of South Africa.
“We said as women in SADC, we want to play a role to work with government because we are part of government. We said to government, we want to help you. We have seen these beautiful policies but the change is very slow,” she said.
Malwela said they want this cooperation in order to accelerate change within the lives of women.
“Because when you change the lives of women, you change the lives of communities,” she stressed, adding that Women in Tourism SADC hence came up with the Cooperative Accelerator Programme encouraging women to form cooperatives.
The programme, she explained, looks at access to markets, access to funding, mentorship and enterprise development.
It started with women in South Africa where 50 cooperatives per province have been formed in the nine provinces there.
This programme, Malwela said, will also be brought to Namibia through Women Embracing Change Namibia and that a cooperative bank is to be set up in Zambia.
“We are finishing with South Africa, then Zambia and then we come to Namibia. We want to control this economy. After we have invested, we are going to have our own malls,” said Malwela.