On a recent visit to Zambia, we met Maggie; an inspiring woman who told us why being part of a Federation is so important to her and other women in her community.
Maggie lives in Lusaka, Zambia with her two children, aged 16 and 14. She has been a member of a savings group, part of the Zambia Homeless and Poor People’s Federation, for many years.
Having been widowed when her children were young, being part of the Federation has given Maggie an important network of support and sense of unity in her community. What Maggie speaks most highly of, however, is the opportunities that being in the Federation has given her, to attend training courses and build up a variety of practical skills.
Using the skills she has learnt, Maggie is now a confident electrician and has worked on a number of construction projects, including helping to build eight ecosan toilets in Choma and Livingstone, as well as houses in Kitwe and a demonstration toilet in Mongu. Maggie took the lead in building the demonstration toilet, doing a lot of the work single-handedly and completing it in just 12 days.
Those who know Maggie are very proud of her and the skills she has attained. She feels very positive that there are now more female builders in communities like hers and she credits the support of the Federation for making it easier for women to get involved in building. Her ultimate dream is to build her own house and toilet for her family.
The Zambia Homeless and Poor People’s Federation is a nationwide network started by poor families living in informal settlements in Zambia. There are now more than 35,000 families in the Federation, across towns and cities nationwide, collectively saving and working together to address the challenges they face and to improve their living conditions.