Maria Katjituwo – Namibia

Maria Katjituwo – Namibia

Date: November 16, 2015
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The MK chicken project is a source of livelihood for a gender based violence survivor

“My business could have grown very well but people stole my chickens!”

Maria Katjituwo is a single mother of three children and a resident of Grootfontein. She runs a chicken farming business. She is unemployed and her business is the only source of income for her to be able to feed her entire family and pay school fees for her children. She is committed and very passionate about her business. She believes her business is viable and that she will soon enter the domestic market. She says her aim was to contribute towards food security by bringing chicken meat closer to the consumers. She asserts that her business is profit making and that it could grow faster than other businesses.

Maria says she sells live chickens directly to the consumers because currently she does not have processing machines. She maintains that her business is making profit and feels it has changed her life drastically in the sense that she can now afford to feed her family and send her children to school. Maria says she was impressed to see changes in her life as a result of her project. She insists that her involvement with Gender Links (GL) has been milestone in her life because she has learnt how important it is to own a business account in order to save profit rather than misusing it.

Maria rates the training Gender Links imparted to her highly because now she can do market research and draft a business plan. She has learnt about budgeting, planning and marketing. She says she is following what she learnt in all the workshops she attended so that she can grow her business. Even though she is happy with her business, Maria says she is encountering many challenges, such as lack of operational space, because currently she keeps her chickens behind her courtyard and thieves are stealing her chickens. She mentioned that this theft is holding her business back. The other problem she faces is transport to take her chickens to sell them. She hopes this will not affect her business too much and that soon she will be able to stop using taxi transport and secure an open vehicle.

Currently, Maria manages her business alone but she says she will employ two people once she secures a bigger place from which to operate her business. The two workers will be tasked with feeding the chickens and maintaining their health. She plans to work together with the Ministry of Agriculture to get more advice on chicken production.

Maria says the business environment is favourable especially for the type of business she is running. She intends to register her business with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Finance and Social Security Commission. She said that she will consider more strategies to market her business such as sending sms’s, radio announcements, placing of posters and using face book. Maria states that she has no problem mobilising customers since she has gained suitable communication skills through Gender Links training.

Maria is very happy because the Gender Links training has completely changed her life and she could also see this change in others. Attending GL programmes has been one of her most memorable experiences since she is now innovative and very creative.

Maria chose this type of business because raw chicken meat is expensive in local shops and poor people cannot afford it. Her business enjoys competition. She is anticipating that her business will continue meeting consumer demand for chicken on a long term basis.

Maria is a driver of change because she went from experiencing gender based violence to becoming an entrepreneur with the assistance of Gender Links. Her life is an example to other women in her community and she has worked hard and done away with the dependency syndrome in her life. She says she wants to do more so other women can learn from her.

Her most memorable experience is when she participated in the 2014 national summit.


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