Talia Women’s NetworkSaliwe Mutetwa
Zimbabwe is a jewel in Southern Africa. Once dubbed the ‘bread basket of Africa’, Zimbabwe has been degraded through years of misrule, corruption and economic instability. The unemployment rate has reached an alarming 94 percent and a significant proportion of the population lives below the poverty datum line. Sadly, women, girls and youth are most affected. They lack access to activities and resources to contribute to economic success and security – they have reduced access to livelihood opportunities and reduced access to basic services such as health, family planning and education. Women and girls have low educational attainment, most dropping out of school due to gender-related circumstances such as the need to care for sick family members, pressure to marry and unexpected pregnancies. Most women marry young for survival and are victims of intimate partner violence, resulting in high divorce rates.
Saliwe is driven by a personal vision for women, girls and youth to attain the freedom to experience wholeness in terms of health, education and enterprise opportunities. She courageously established Talia Women’s Network after going through a personal ‘dungeon’ phase where both she and her husband were unemployed, lived with no access to water and electricity, and did not know where the next meal would come from. Meaning ‘dew from heaven’, Talia exists to provide sustenance for women, girls and youth, offering integrated socio-economic and health support. In a country facing widespread socio-economic decay, Saliwe has garnered support from influential leaders within the private sector, government and NGOs to equip vulnerable women, girls and youth with life skills to harness economic and social opportunities, inspire change and bring transformation to their lives and communities. Saliwe is working in rural communities to provide educational and leadership development programs; economic empowerment and livelihood opportunities; and access to sexual reproductive health and rights information and services. The impact of her work has been resilient individuals who actively participate in creating peaceful, inclusive and sustainable communities.