Women Connect and How Embrace Her is Navigating the Pandemic
Editor’s Note: Skees Family Foundation began working with Embrace Her in 2021, in the height of the pandemic. We have really been amazed at their flexibility and ability to adapt. Embrace Her wrote this piece to give our readers an insight into how they continue to do the work they are doing and grow in spite of the obstacles this past year and a half have brought.
Networking groups can be an efficient way to meet people with valuable contacts and gain ideas. But for some, female-only networking groups can go an extra mile in providing a space for gender issues and equality to be discussed without judgement.
The Embrace Her team came up with the concept of Women Connect to be held every second Wednesday of the month as a way to link women under the age of 35 who would come together and share different experiences and practices on various topics related to financial literacy. Borrowing from the words of Shaherose Charania and modifying them, “Women no longer have an ‘if I can’ mindset; now it’s more about ‘how I can-be in entrepreneurship, how I can achieve my goals, how I can make more money, how I can grow my capital, how I can make a difference?’” and that shift is very exciting! Therefore, the Women Connect sessions are a great way of bringing the women in one room and just helping each other grow financially.
So far, we have had two exhilarating Women Connect sessions. Our first one was held on 12th May, 2021 and was under the theme “Financial Vision Board”. This was a fun-filled session which among other things comprised of individual financial vision board creation and later presenting to the rest of the class. The women got to not only sit and learn but also get creative and really think about their financial short-, medium- and long-term goals and pledge to actualize them. Everyone got to say something and it was really amazing to see the different financial goals that women from different walks of life had to share.
Among the beautiful and talented ladies we had, one of them whose role models include Chamamanda Ngozie Adichie and Mizinga Melu shared that she plans to get a Master’s Degree and then a PhD and plans to start a blog and buy a really nice AUDI car. Another shared that she wants to venture into farming and one day become a CEO of her own agricultural products value adding company.
The second Women Connect session was held on 9th June, 2021 under the theme “How to Save and Invest with an Irregular Income” where Serah Zulu, the founder of Nyali Foundation came and facilitated an interactive and insightful session.
It is no secret that businesses have been disturbed amid the COVID 19 pandemic. However, a lot of young women have vowed not to let this deter them. Therefore, we have seen a rise in online businesses like thrift clothing, baking, and makeup artistry among others which have led to a significant number of young women having an irregular income. With the notion by many that only people who earn a regular income are able to save and invest, this theme could not have come at a better time.
Young women entrepreneurs who run various businesses came together to share and learn how to save and invest with an irregular income and also share different business ideas.
“Women’s networks are a necessary part of life. A mixture of empathy and brainstorming can move mountains,” said Hazel Hawke.
Zambia is currently facing a third wave of COVID 19; the government passed several restrictions which include no workshops or conferences making it a challenge for us to host our in person Women Connect programs. Nevertheless we believe in safety for target communities, thus we launched our virtual Women Connect programs because we strongly believe women still need to network and learn about financial issues as well other topics concerning women’s development even during the pandemic. This has so far worked and we had good turnouts from the women registered to join us virtually.
Our July Women Connect was hosted virtually on the 14th July, 2021 with Chanozya Kabaghe, a financial educator who uses her social media to share financial management tips and advice; she is also a Mandela Rhodes and Beit Trust Scholar and a finalist of the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) Youth Financial Contributor Award 2021. Our the theme topic was “Financial discipline vs Maintaining a proper lifestyle.”
In conclusion, we at Embrace Her hope to see more women registering and participating in Women Connect because it is really making a difference, one young women at a time.
Photos and videos courtesy of Embrace Her.
LEARN more about Embrace Her and the work they are doing in Zambia here.