“Promoting Angolan Women Through CSOs”

Aunty Maria in a daycare Ninho de Amor
Photo: UNDP Angola/ Maria Casal

Maria Mateus (Aunty/Tia Maria), 66 years old, lives in Cazenga district in Luanda Province for 40 years with her husband and six children. Her main occupation is at daycare Ninho D’Amor, which began in 2002. Since 2004, Tia Maria has also been the coordinator of 31 Community Centers Children of Cazenga. She also leads the Gender Development Network of Cazenga that was formed in 2008. She stated that they call it a gender network because it works with women and men through awareness and civic education campaigns.

Within the Development Workshop Angola partnership with UNDP Angola, the Cazenga’s Gender Development Network benefited from trainings on entrepreneurship, starting and managing small businesses and some of its members had also access to financial credit.

The project “Promoting Angolan Women Through CSOs

  • The 1st Cycle of the project “Promoting Angolan Women Through CSOs” was funded by the Norwegian Embassy and implemented by UNDP Angola from 2012 to 2015. The project achieved its objective of contributing to the awareness and empowerment of women with abilities to claim and exercise their socio-economic and political rights. It also strengthened the capacity of women’s groups and networks in gender intervention.
  • The project elected to strategically intervene through CSOs to reach communities directly. Grants were awarded to CSOs working in the area of gender, including women’s groups and networks, to enable engagement with women at all levels (national, provincial and local). From 2012 to 2015 it reached a total of 25,839 direct beneficiaries, of whom 44% were women.
  • The Development Workshop Angola (DW) was awarded grant in 2014 to implement the micro-project entitled “Empowering the Advancement of Women: Center for Support of Solidarity Initiatives”. Maria Mateus was a beneficiary in this project.

As beneficiary of the project “Promoting Angolan Women Through CSOs’, Aunt Mary received a credit of 100,000KZ. She has managed to double it through the sale of food products and will now invest the profit in the refurbishment of her daycare.

She said: “The training helped a lot, that’s why I doubled my money. The other women who also benefited from training and had access to financial credit for their clothes, food, ice cream and drinks selling business have doubled their money. Before, we worked without sheets reflecting the cashflow and now we all use this tool. Today, women who sell in the market and benefited from training before choosing their new products they go around the market to study the competition”.

When asked about the perception of women’s rights and empowerment in the community, Aunty Maria said there has been an improvement and gave a testimony on men’s behavior stating, “Before they thought that their wives bringing money home would overcome them but since then things have improved a lot”.