Sustainable Livelihoods

Financially secure individuals, families and communities

boMake Rural Projects seeks to equip women and their families and communities in Eswatini with the business skills, equipment and financial knowledge needed to make the most of income-generating opportunities and to increase their decision-making power by

  • Building multi-purpose community halls to provide spaces to carry out income-generating work and to rent out to others
  • Training in business skills and financial literacy
  • Supporting agricultural activities

Three-quarters of Swazis live in rural areas, but although the country’s economy is chiefly based on agriculture, 75% of rural inhabitants are subsistence farmers, growing food primarily to feed their families and themselves. The small surplus they can sell brings in very little income. As they live on Swazi Nation Land, they are unable to use land as collateral for bank loans.

Women carry most responsibility for household chores and for looking after children, the sick and the elderly. These responsibilities and women’s subordinate role in traditional Swazi society make it difficult for them to be economically active.

In the communities where we currently work, Gone Rural employs more than 780 women in creating woven handcrafts. This is valuable income but women and families need more opportunities and more information on financial management and business skills. In addition, when the Gone Rural production groups gather outdoors to work they are exposed to the elements. This is where boMake comes in.

Multipurpose community halls

Our community halls provide sheltered spaces where women and other community members can weave and conduct other business activities. Building them is a community affair, with Gone Rural artisans leading their team in negotiating land for the hall, construction and management of the completed structure.

boMake provides the basic materials and training. The halls are constructed of soil cement blocks, an inexpensive type of brick that can be manufactured by the community in situ.

Together, we have built six community halls so far. A seventh is under construction in Edlangeni and another in Ntontozi is planned for 2019. The first three were single-structure buildings but we now build halls flanked by two smaller rooms to house a preschool and a community library.

Financial literacy and business skills

We endeavour to drive social change for women, families and communities through economic empowerment empower, with training on financial literacy and micro-enterprise.

boMake’s Kutimela micro-enterprise programme helped women develop 240 savings groups. They saved more than E 800,000 in total and 70% of the members used the funds to start small businesses.

We plan to continue supporting community members in their efforts to become financially secure. Watch this space!