By Bongani Ncube
The Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Jennifer Mhlanga officially launched the Midlands Prison women capacitation initiative at Whawha Prison Complex in Gweru last week.
The initiative is aimed at empowering women towards economic development under the theme “Inclusion of women in various sectors of the economy as we attain vision 2030”.
The Young Women for Economic Development program was launched by the First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa in 2018 to promote empowerment, inclusivity, and influence.
In her speech, Minister Mhlanga said women are the backbone for economic development in society.
Women are encouraged to work with their own hands. The government is in the process to implement measures to support and help women become empowered in society.
“As a woman, have a willingness to make a difference in your life. Women should be located in the manufacturing, mining, retail as well as tourism sector. Women must take up ownership of those sectors and be trained to work as cooperative entities,” She added.
She further encouraged women to embrace agriculture as it was one of the national development strategy agendas.
“Women are therefore supposed to embrace agriculture, locate themselves and become empowered to complement the role played by men in looking after the family.
“Women should consider the value chain in addition to agriculture. For instance, soya beans produce cooking oil, therefore women need to partake in the oil industry. Agriculture should be practiced at a broader length. The groundnuts that women grow has to promote value addition as women process peanut butter,” added Mhlanga.
“The building and construction sector is also looking forward to empowering women and should not be too dependent on their husbands but should also capacitate themselves to bring food to the table.
“Women can start with small businesses and later on grow into medium businesses. Women should be grouped depending on what they want to specialize in to undertake training.
“The institution for training in Masvingo has been rehabilitated and will be supported by the women development fund,” added Mhlanga.