In 2022, as Malawi continued its recovery pathway out of the COVID pandemic, the Foundation for Community and Capacity Development (FOCCAD) team completed delivery of our vocational training project, from which 64 trainees graduated with skills in auto-mechanics, electrical installation and repairs, tailoring, carpentry and welding.
All 64 graduates have gone on to join our Transition to Work project, where they are being supported in forming business groups and marketing their enterprises. For a twelve-month period, each group receives monthly business coaching sessions, covering topics such as financial management, record keeping, customer services and group dynamics. When they finish the project early next year, the participants will be equipped with not only the technical skills they need to ply their trade, but also the confidence to grow successful businesses.
Simon Kapamula is among the graduates in Electrical Installation. Before he started his vocational training in 2021, Simon didn’t have any electrical knowledge but he wanted to learn a trade that would help him achieve financial stability. Now he is confident he has mastered all the skills needed for an electrician, from undertaking small appliance repairs to switching from mains to solar electricity. He says “I really enjoyed the training and now I am able to make money.”
With the support of the Transition to Work project, Simon has started a business group with fellow graduate, Steven. We meet them at a hair salon where they are busy repairing a faulty plug socket using the Tools for Self Reliance toolkit they received at the end of their vocational training project. Like many small repair jobs, this one was secured through a recommendation by a friend. But between jobs, Simon and Steven are actively seeking to build their customer base and reputation for good quality workmanship. By approaching local construction companies they intend to win larger contracts, and when their business is more established, Simon is confident they will be able to charge higher prices for their work.
Simon tells us that the Transition to Work project has helped him track of customer records and his finances. He said “I wish to express my gratitude on the move taken by FOCCAD to continue equipping us with business skills. This has come at a right time when we are competing for market opportunities with the rest of installers in our area and want to win customers interests. Through the sessions we have had the opportunity to reflect on our progress as a business group and identify skills gaps existing among the membership. So far we have been re-trained in marketing, record keeping and handling competitors. We believe that this initiative will in the long run sharpen our skills in business fraternity.”
Simon’s ambition is to one day have a shop of his own, where he will stock electrical spares and provide a repair service to customers. He said, “I want to be stable in everything including finances so I can also be able to help others”. Simon knows it may take a few years to build up his business, but with hard work and determination he is determined to achieve his dream.
Projects such as these would not be possible without you. We want to say a big THANK YOU for all of your kind donations, and for your preloved tools which support our projects. If you would like to support our life-changing projects, please click here to give a one-off gift or set up a regular donation. Thank you.