At the age of 49, Zambian Anita Sitatanga is enjoying a newfound independence.
A farmer and fruit seller, for much of her adult life, she has struggled to make a profit from her work. “I relied almost entirely on my husband for money. He decided how we would spend our income.”
Things changed for Anita when she joined other women from Namuswa village on a Self Help Africa project training them in drying and packaging fresh fruit.
Previously, Anita would make a bus journey each week to the market, carrying heavy suitcases laden with fresh fruit.
By drying and packaging her fruit she is able to carry the produce easily, and importantly, more cheaply.
Not only that, she is now selling her dried and packaged produce for a higher price, and because it has a longer shelf-life sees less of it going to waste.
“I make my own money now. I love not being dependent on my husband. It has changed my life,” she adds.
Her income is having an impact on her entire family’s quality of life and an empowering effect on her own self-confidence.
Evidence shows that in rural Africa, women who have greater control over household finance are most likely to invest their income in their family and children.