EU Girls Week - MozambiqueFor the European Week of Action for Girls, we are delighted to showcase success stories from around the world. Here, in a guest post, our friends at UNIDO introduce us to two young women from Mozambique. Read on!

Introducing Vilma and Valeria, 27, beneficiaries of the programme in Mozambique

Activity: Sewing, production of clothes, bags and necklaces in capulana

Vilma and Valeria were students of secondary education and were motivated to initiate their activity when they had the notions of entrepreneurship classes at school.

At first they did not know well what they could do as entrepreneurial activity. They first assess their own capabilities and saw that were interested in sewing, but both did not feel secure enough to invest in this business because only knew sew by hand. They spoke to his father and he offered them the opportunity to take a sewing course during the holidays and in their spare time. They loved what they have learned about the techniques to design models and work the material and found that they could actually bet on the sewing area. They seeked to study the market and observe the customers’ needs.

With their father’s help they bought a sewing machine and were developing ideas for their products. Working with the machine behind the benefit of being able to produce more and better quality. The two sisters had chosen to invest in the use of capulana as base fabric to be a traditional material and easily accessible. Vilma and Valeria made the design of clothes, bags and necklaces. Sometimes people buy ever made products, sometimes prefer to order a cero cut or a dress set, necklace and purse. The students sold to classmates at school and the people in your neighborhood.

The sisters are still getting good profits with the business. They developed their business and bought a sewing machine. Vilma and Valeria made a savings plan to get the funds for this investment.

About the ECP in Mozambique

Mozambique has been enjoying impressive growth rates, albeit with an over-reliance on coal and aluminium exports.   Mega-projects in the mining sector and investments in the natural gas sector are expanding dynamically.   Yet, the domestic small and medium-sized enterprises are lagging far behind and require human resources with the capacity to leverage this growth, espe­cially in rural areas where more than 60% of the population live.   And out of Mozambique’s total population of 25 million, more than 13 million are below 18 years, who need to prepare for their future careers and livelihoods. To address this situation, the Government of Mozambique embarked on an ambitious education plan to better prepare young people for entrepreneurial activities and trigger a nationwide bottom-up economic growth process to reduce poverty.

EU girls week - mozambiqueIn 2007, the Ministry of Education and Culture introduced the Entrepreneurship Curriculum Programme (ECP) in secondary and vocational schools throughout the country. The programme aimed at encouraging the development of entrepreneurial attitudes, skills and knowledge, with technical assistance from UNIDO and funding from the Government of the Kingdom of Norway.   Entrepreneurship was introduced as a stand-alone subject in grades 9 to 12, for two hours a week.   UNIDO assisted the Government in developing an entre­preneurship curriculum with syllabus, teacher’s guides, textbooks, monitoring and evaluation tools, as well as assessment guidelines.

Through practical activities, students learn how to discover businesses opportunities with growth potential in their communities and how to assess resources that can be mobi­lized within their environments.  Students also learn in the­ory and practice how to set up and manage a business and to make savings.  They learn to better express their ideas, develop realistic projects and logically organize them, deal with problems and uncertainty, and to work in teams.  Parents and teachers testify increases in self-confidence, initiative and sense of responsibility.

“It is important to know how to manage your funds and to have a professional attitude” says Vilma who is producing clothes for young people in traditional material (Capulana) with her twinsister Valeria. They are two of more than 120,000 young Mozambicans who have graduated so far from two years of entrepreneurship studies at school. The two young women now are attending university and still having their business.

To learn more about EU Girls Week, visit: www.europeanweekofactionforgirls.org