Summary of the activities-  JANUARY 2009 – July 2010

SWASMO is an organizationthat focuses on meeting the needs of single mothers including teen mothers. SWASMO was created in January 2009. We started with one main project called “action groups for single mothers” although we also did some individual counselling. The action groups for single mothers or self-help groups aim at empowering single mothers economically through income generative projects and psychologically. We also help them to be aware of the environmental factors contributing to their conditions so that they can take into their own hands their lives and improve them.  We usually network with other organizations such as Foundation for economic justice for civic rights education, ADRA to provide them with skills related to HIV issues or the ministry of agriculture for agricultural skills.

Our activities were done within evidenced based approaches such as the people centred and participatory approaches that encourage the involvement of the beneficiaries in their own projects from the conception to the evaluation.

Highlights of activities undertaken:

  • A 2 weeks training of the facilitator/volunteers on the participatory approach of community development in January 2009 by the project coordinator. This training was regularly updated where and when necessary.
  • Awareness walks by volunteers in each community to get to know the community and for the community to get to know the facilitator and SWASMO and information and contact meetings with each community’s leaders. As a result we were able to write communities profiles.
  • Swasmo reached 40 low income single mothers grouped in 2 action groups in the 2 Manzini poorest slums named Kakhoza and Makholweni. Grouping single mothers in groups has helped to increase mutual support between members especially in terms of psychological and emotional support.
  • Ongoing facilitation of need assessment and environmental assessment (political, social, economical and psychological). This was crucial as it increased group members empowerment.
  • Ongoing facilitation of participatory need identification: This process helps group members to explore their environment (political, economical, social, physical) so that they can understand the problems and needs of their community and the causes of these needs.
  • Participatory management and planning and participatory evaluation during meetings. We have had 30 meetings with the first group and 11 meetings with second group so far. We usually use the Action-reflection-planning during this process.
  • Training of group members on facilitation skills for sustainability of the group. Because we intend to withdraw, we progressively train some members on how they can facilitate their meetings.
  • Implementation of the income generating project or development project identified by the action group. The first group (Makhlweni) has established several income generative projects such as making of clothes and scarves, making of artchar and a garden as we can see in the following picture. They have also organized a cleaning campaign.
  • Food supply to the poorest.
  • Training in basic project management and HIV/AIDS issues With the support of ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency).
  • Visit from the Foundation for Social- Economic Justice  for civic rights education.
  • It is important to involve the leaders of the communities in our projects. This was successful as one of the group had a visit of an officer of the department of agriculture and Visit of the Member of parliament of Manzini North Inkhula as well as the Chief of the Constituency (Invuna) of Manzini North. The Inkhula has provided E 1000 to one group and has helped to buy fences used to protect the group’s garden. In addition one community member provided the group with the land. This was indeed a sign that the community.

In November, in collaboration with ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) the group members will be trained as community HIV/AIDS counsellors.