the duwa project
On average, a woman in Malawi, Africa makes just a little more than a dollar a day. She does so by selling various types of produce. But what happens when that produce doesn't sell, or goes bad, or is destroyed due to storms or drought? How will this woman provide for her family?
American University, United Nations Children’s Fund, The World Bank, and the Food and Agriculture Organization conducted a multicountry analysis looking at various activities that aided in rural families' income generation. While this study proved the needs and benefits to alternative income generation, the question still remains: How can one woman provide for her own’ needs independently enough so that she has a sufficient amount of supplemental income should her primary source of income be threatened?
Morgan Campey founded The Duwa Project unofficially in 2011 asking the same question. The project started with the Guardians of Adziwa in Malawi, Africa. It was a successful completion but was not sustainable. In 2015, when Morgan started a Civic Leadership program at David Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN, she asked the question, "How will income generating alternatives provide supplemental income to women in semi urban Malawi?" She was unsure of how to find the answer. Through various classes taught in the Master's program and through countless hours of research, she still could not find the magic ingredient.
One day, one of her advisory members told her about a shop she visited in Indiana. "Creative Women of the World, have you heard of it?" the member asked. Morgan had not, but soon discovered our mission and vision. With nothing to lose, Morgan contacted Lorelei (our Executive Director) directly and asked if she could be involved.
Morgan and CWOW traveled to Malawi in November of 2016 and conducted a workshop with 15 women of AdziwaVillage (a slum near the capital city, Lilongwe in the central region). Women who were once silenced, oppressed, or abused started to regain their confidence. The women started speaking up. They started brainstorming and using creativity and making plans for their families and businesses. They said that because of Morgan being herself with them, they knew they could trust her. She kept coming back and visiting them, making sure that a sustainable relationship was established.
The Duwa Project works with women to create and craft fair trade products that can offer a steady income with premiums, so the women can save and plan ahead. What started with fifteen women from Adziwa experimenting with fabric orchid flower designs has turned into a whole product creation operation.
Duwa means "flower" in Chichewa, the language of central Malawi. Malawi is home to over 400 species of Orchids - more than any other country in the Africa. An orchid is known for sustaining all types of weather: drought, floods, heat, and wind. The women are the guardians of AIDS orphans in Adziwa Village. Both the women and the orphans are survivors and thrivers.