During the Choice Disability trial we have used an adaptation of the Most Significant Change technique to conduct a process evaluation of the Beyond Victims and Villains (BVV) intervention and the Focused Workshop (FW) intervention. The technique entails collecting stories of “most significant change” from community members involved in the intervention and then further selecting those stories the research team feel to be the most significant. The stories provide a vivid picture of the lives of the story tellers and illustrate how the interventions helped to precipitate important changes.

Stories about the BVV intervention

Stories about the FW intervention

Stories about the BVV intervention

The following are quotes from selected stories about changes women and men attributed to the BVV intervention. Click on a quote to read the story in full.

Female community BVV facilitator, aged 27

I was dating this guy who could leave me in his house for a week. He abused me emotionally and I had low self esteem due to his abuse. I then started taking part in BVV sessions and that is when I realized that I could leave him. I did exactly that, and now my life has improved. I am working for Ipelegeng (poverty eradication programme). I also work pounding sorghum at a local primary school. I am saving money to buy stock for a tuckshop which was my father’s.

Female community BVV facilitator, aged 30

Before I was involved with BVV, my relationship with my partner was a nightmare. He used to beat me badly and he drank too much. He would listen to rumours in the village about me, then he would come home drunk and verbally abuse me, then I would get angry and tell him my mind, the minute I do that he would beat me. He wasn’t taking care of the children, neglecting his duties as a father, financially and just building a relationship with them, they feared him like a lion. After starting BVV, I realised that I was in an abusive relationship and that something can be done to better the situation. So I started discussing with him the topics we discussed at the sessions, he gradually started to change and stopped beating me. I too changed; to be honest the rumours that he heard circulating around the village some were true. I did run around with other guys and I too drank a lot, sometimes I wouldn’t even spend the night at home. Now because of BVV I’ve stopped all that and we are still together he now takes care of our children and is good to me.

Male BVV participant, aged 24

I used to drink a lot and while under the influence I will get violent with my partner. We were staying together, she was working and I was not. Whenever she refused to give me money, I would beat her and take it by force to buy alcohol. A friend of mine told me about the BVV sessions and asked if I was interested in participating, I said yes and became a participant. These sessions made me realise that what I am doing to my partner is serious physical abuse. I felt sorry for her and started controlling my anger and drinking. I realised that all this was due to me being unemployed and I was simply trying to show my manhood. At present I am working and our relationship has improved greatly and we live peacefully together.

Female BVV participant, aged 22

For me the BVV session about inter-generational sex hit home. I was standing in front of Barclays Bank at the mall just yesterday and this old man came up to me. He greeted me and I greeted him back. He then started small talk and told me how polite I was and how I should keep up that behaviour/ personality. He then went on and told me how sexy and slender I was. He asked for my phone number. I refused to give it. He asked for my name and I gave him a wrong name. He told me he has three cars and an estate. He continued on and promised to marry me and take me to places I wanted to go, I responded and told him to leave me alone as first, he was old enough to be my great grandfather and how I wanted luxuries that I have accumulated myself. I left him standing there. These “Scraps” (beat up older men) are annoying. Just the other day another one hit another car from the back as he was staring at me walking down the street.

Female BVV participant, aged 31

I was expelled from school at form 1. One of the bully boys wanted me and I did not know anything about relationships. I was also very intelligent at school. One day the bully boy hit me with an iron rod and took me to a nearby bush where he raped me. When I reported, everyone claimed that I consented. Some of the girls in school were jealous of my intelligence, corroborated this by claiming that I had boasted that I was going to sleep with the boy. I was then expelled from school accused of trying to cause trouble. I attempted suicide by taking a lot of tablets, fortunately for me I vomited them out. From that age of 13 I was bitter and tormented by this, then last year in June 2011 I started attending BVV sessions. These sessions opened the light to the dark side of my life. It showed me that I was not the only one who had this problem. I was then able to talk to on of my superiors sub- inspector………….. After that my mind started relaxing, I forgave everyone who cased me pain including my mother and the police officers who didn’t listen to me during my time of agony.

Female BVV participant, aged 25

I was a person who used to wander around the village drinking traditional beer or any other thing that I found which could make me drunk. I was doing this on daily basis with my partner. Sometimes my partner would have no money to buy me alcohol and other men would buy it for me. When my partner saw this he became jealous and fought with them. After that he would beat me up. If it’s a guy who he feared he would beat me right away without bothering the guy. I lived this life of being beaten even by men who were not my partners because they asked for sexual favours after buying me alcohol. Sometimes I just agreed to sexual favours because I feared them. One day a volunteer from my ward invited me to listen to the radio, first I was not interested but after listening to two episodes I developed interest. I tried to invite my partner but he refused after I told him that the radio station is about sexual violence. I had more than one partner so I invited the other partner to the radio session and he seemed more interested. He also stopped abusing me and we became deeply in love and I stopped seeing the other violent guy. He threatened me but I and my other partner stood up to him.

Female BVV participant, aged 25

In XX there is a lot of alcohol abuse and promiscuity among us youth. We all do it. I used to drink a lot and was having sex with more than one guy. I had my boyfriend who was a traditional dancer with one of the groups, I also had a boyfriend who worked at the veterinary offices. Then there were the weekend guys who didn’t stay in town; they usually took me to the Lodge or we did it in their cars – at the time for me it was harmless fun. After I started the BVV sessions I realised the danger I was exposing myself to because I didn’t use a condom all the time and I didn’t know my status; to be honest I was afraid to test because I thought I already had it. Anyway because of the serious discussions we had at the BVV sessions, I managed to get the courage to go and test, and I found out I was negative. I was so relieved, now I always use a condom and I have stopped sleeping around.

One of the girls I attended sessions with used to have sex for money with the truck drivers who come through XX. She stopped that because of the discussions we had at the BVV sessions. She now works in the Ipelegeng (poverty eradication) programme.

Female BVV participant, aged 22

I used to sleep around with many boys, these boys used to force me to sleep with them when I didn’t want to. After I joined in BVV I stopped going with many boys. A boy forced me to have sex with him; I told my mother and we went together to the headman of our ward. The boy got lashed. Today I am trying to avoid getting involved with boys so I can build my life.

With all my friends that joined BVV we have told ourselves that we will stop sleeping around and going out at night and also to encourage others to do the same and to encourage those who are abused to seek for help in the right places. The youth that we talk to show that they are listening as they don’t frequent the bars or show undesirable behaviour anymore.

Female community BVV facilitator, aged 34

BVV has helped me a lot because I have been able to be a counsellor to myself in making the right decisions. Previously my life was a bit promiscuous. I would cohabit with every man I dated. After I started the BVV sessions I regained my self-esteem, and refuse to be abused again. I remember making the decision not to give myself to men that did not care about me, because if they did they would suggest marriage before moving in together.

Currently I live at home, not with any boyfriend. I have since become independent and applied to further my studies at the University of Swaziland for Adult Education of Law so that I am more equipped with Human Rights. After the BVV group was over, I started volunteering in more community activities and attending a lot of trainings that have to do with HIV/AIDS. I attended the CIET training for BVV facilitators and I volunteer in the local school. I also serve as a teacher at the community crèche. I have also been able to be part of a church group and my pastor likes my skills a lot. During conferences I am called to share my knowledge with the rest of the Congregation. I have become a role model in the community. People come to me for advice.

I have seen others go through what I went through but now I have become an ambassador of hope and I am able to openly talk to people that are in abusive relationships. I have gained knowledge and have been enlightened that No is No and has only one meaning. I have been able to see that it is possible to live a single life.

The girls who were part of BVV stopped having multiple partners. One of them has settled down with the father of her child. The rate at which people liked multiple partners decreased. Women began to encourage each other to stop being bomasihlalisane (live in partners); if a person does not marry you, it is best that you live separately. I have three girls who can testify to this. One of my friends moved out of her boyfriend’s apartment after being enlightened by BVV, she made the choice to live at home, even though they are still together. Another friend of mine who used to be abused by her boyfriend never wanted to talk about it, but now she is in the frontline to do away with physical abuse. The community has become more open.

Some families have asked me to counsel their children. They like the path that BVV set for us to follow. I would like this programme to continue in the community.

Male community BVV facilitator, aged 24

The first change is with the respect I now have for women. I continue to be friendly with them and open with them and have no hate for them. Another change, which is the most significant one, is that before I was not of the opinion that a female may not to be in a position to have sex. I now know that from the different answers the females gave, in our joint BVV sessions. I am now able to talk openly about sex with my girlfriend and I ask her politely to have sex with me.

My girlfriend and I were playing cards one day (4-0). I slapped her on her arm jokingly and she hit me back. I simply walked out. I recalled our BVV discussion; I remembered that hitting a woman is not a good thing so I left.

Another thing is that, to show how much I care for my girlfriend, I help her with what she needs. Some guys in the community are keen to join the BVV discussions because of what I know.

I have noticed in the area that the guys here can now meet and do other constructive things through the boys who are part of the BVV discussions. One of the guys who was in the BVV group is mobilizing other young men and also asking for donations from local business people in order to buy and distribute food to young children affected by the issues we discuss in BVV meetings.

Female community BVV facilitator, aged 44

Two of my daughters also took part in BVV. Before the sessions, they were promiscuous; they had multiple partners and misbehaved. I would talk to them about this but they never listened. One day we had a discussion as a family, about an episode of BVV, Sexual violence and transactional sex. This discussion opened up their eyes because one of my daughters, since then, has stuck to one partner. She has a baby with him and they live peacefully together.

Six girls from the girls’ intervention (BVV group) came to me to talk about transactional sex. They asked me how they can grow their business. This to me is a sign that they wanted to get out of the culture of transactional sex. Now they come at anytime to discuss issues of sexual violence.

After the BVV sessions you would notice that some of them did not do the regular tavern visits.

Female BVV participant, aged 36

Before I took part in the BVV, I never knew how to talk to my children well. I would scold them and assume it was my role as a parent. I would scold my children anyhow, even in front of people. After the having heard the BVV sessions (I cannot recall which episodes talked about children and when they should start having sex), I realized that I have to hold my anger and talk properly to the children so that they can also seek advice from me about such things as starting sexual intercourse.

I remember one time, one of my daughters was asking about a personal matter, like sanitary wear. Because I had made the decision to listen to my children and talk properly to them, I was able to give advice.

I had found it normal to talk in a commanding and scolding tone with my children and had no problem with it. I realize now that if I had continued with the scolding, my daughter would have never come to me about personal hygiene issues. It could have caused them to hate me.

Male BVV participant, aged 21

Before taking part in BVV we would come together as friends and go to the Tavern. I personally do not take alcohol but spending time at the tavern tempted me to hook up with drunken girls and bring them to the house. I would have sex with these girls, which sometimes would be unsafe sex. This happened almost every Friday. I knew that having multiple sexual partners was wrong all this time, but hearing it from BVV, in a way made a difference and that tempted me to change.

For the past 2 months, I haven’t been to the tavern, I would rather stay in my room than go there. Even if I do go there, I leave early, with no one by my side.

Before, guys here would have about six different sexual partners per week, but now it is better especially with those who are taking part in BVV, they no longer have as many partners as they used to. Having multiple sexual partners was a way of life here at the company houses but now BVV is changing that trend. The houses are so close together you can see the different girls go into a particular guy’s rooms and I must say the number of visitors in the rooms of most of the guys who attend BVV has reduced.

Male BVV participant, aged 20

During my school days I was a womaniser, I had three girlfriends. Two came from this area and one from another community. I did not live with any of them; I just wanted to have sex with them because they were stylish and fashionable girls. I had sex with all of them without protection most of the time. Eventually after my first two BVV Episodes I started using condoms every time I had sex, but still kept my three girlfriends for the fun of sex.

I learned about transactional sex and realized that is what me and the girls are doing. When I had money I would give them money and things would be great, but when there was no money, they would not want to have sex. I learned later that they were like prostitutes; they wanted money in exchange for sex. The topic transactional sex opened my eyes. I dumped all three of them. I have not had sex since then. I thank CIET a lot because here we discuss real life issues that have opened my eyes. I will find a woman that I will love not lust for, when I am ready. HIV/AIDS is a reality.

Male BVV participant, aged 20

During my school days I was a womaniser, I had three girlfriends. Two came from this area and one from another community. I did not live with any of them; I just wanted to have sex with them because they were stylish and fashionable girls. I had sex with all of them without protection most of the time. Eventually after my first two BVV Episodes I started using condoms every time I had sex, but still kept my three girlfriends for the fun of sex.

I learned about transactional sex and realized that is what me and the girls are doing. When I had money I would give them money and things would be great, but when there was no money, they would not want to have sex. I learned later that they were like prostitutes; they wanted money in exchange for sex. The topic transactional sex opened my eyes. I dumped all three of them. I have not had sex since then. I thank CIET a lot because here we discuss real life issues that have opened my eyes. I will find a woman that I will love not lust for, when I am ready. HIV/AIDS is a reality.

Female community BVV facilitator, aged 57

I attended many workshops and learnt a lot about HIV and AIDS and gender based violence, but never in-depth like the information I got through this intervention. I am so enlightened; how I wish I knew this 10 years ago before my husband infected me with the AIDS virus. As a woman, one never had a “voice” in marriage: whatever the husband says goes. I am not bitter and don’t regret my past but I just wish I knew what I know now. However, with the information I have gained through this intervention, I can comfort myself and forgive my husband. I am alive; my life is not over yet. I am applying what I have learnt by making the right decisions. I know my rights and will not allow anyone to control my life. I am worthy and love myself more.

My primary goal is too make sure that my grandchildren and other females in the family, especially the young ones, do not go through the same chaos as I did. I am educating them to love and respect themselves from an early age. I educate them on their rights. And every pamphlet I get, I make sure that I share the information with them. Sexual abuse of young children is happening everyday but most kids do not know if it is abuse because no one has spoken to them about it. We are spreading the message, so that mothers, grandmothers, aunts can educate their girls about this type of abuse. I feel so empowered and I have declared myself an ambassador of BVV. When attending weddings or any another family events, I make sure that I talk to my female family members. [Laughing] They always make fun of me, but I know they are listening to me because they ask questions to know more.

I can see many of the young women from the village, their behaviour has changed. One do not see many young women hanging at the shebeens any more. I can also see that a few girls have changed their dressing codes; they dress more appropriately. Yes, there are still those who are acting loose, but one can not change someone who doesn’t want to change. Hopefully they will see others as good examples and follow suit. Another significant change I see is among parents, especially the mothers. They are openly talking about sex with their children. A few weeks ago, another meme called me to her house to talk to her girls about sex. She was initially not comfortable with the subject and how to go about it but in the middle of the discussion, she opened up and started talking. We still have along way to go but we will get there and, hopefully, I will be able to change many people’s lives before I die.

Female community BVV facilitator, aged 44

I lost my husband a few years ago and it has been hard for me ever since. He was the only bread winner and now that he is not around I have to provide for my children. I got used to kind of begging, taking my problems to other people so that they can feel sorry for me, especially men. I never slept with them, but I realised that I placed myself in very dangerous situations, because when ever a man offers you assistance he will demand something in return and we all know what that is. When I got involved with BVV I was already a volunteer but, as we all know, volunteering does not bring in much income. I did not get much from the episodes during training, but when I started listening to them over and over again during facilitation it started to make more sense, especially the part about sugar daddies. It is the same thing: as those young girls and boys are depending on those older people, so was I. I also placed myself in very vulnerable situations, and violence was imminent. That is when I decided to change my ways.

No one knows were I would have ended up if had not stopped with what I was busy with; it could have ended in a very bad way and besides I want to be a role model for my children.

I noticed change in the young boys and girls who attended the BVV sessions. These kids used to talk about how they will find someone who already has money to support them, especially if they end up not doing so well in school. They used to say things like “I refuse to live in poverty, like my parents”, but some of them are thinking differently now; they want to do well in school so that they can be self dependant one day.

Male BVV participant, aged 30

I value women. Not that I did not before. I value them more. My father was a very traditional and strict man. I can clearly remember how he used to talk to my mum like she was a small kid. My mum did everything my father said, whether she agreed with it or not. My father also had many affairs and my mother knew about it but she never left him and I am sure she never confronted him. So, as a young man, I grew up not really seeing women as anything but bearers of children and taking care of the children. I learnt that women have the same rights as us men. I now also understand that when a woman says she doesn’t feel like having sex, it’s not that she doesn’t love me, it’s just that she is not in the mood and I should respect that. More importantly, they have the right to demand use of condoms to protect themselves and I think more man should respect that, so that the deadly disease can stop.

I will respect women more and I will make sure that one day when I have children of my own I will teach them from an early age to respect women. I want to become a facilitator also, to work directly with men of my age because I know of many who think the way I used to think.

Male BVV participant, aged 27

I was a real player. In each village I visited, I made sure that I had a girlfriend. My friends and I used to compete over how many ladies we had sex with. The more ladies you took to bed, the more man you are. But after I attended these few sessions, I realise how stupid this whole thing is. We are putting our lives at risk just to show that we are men. I decided not to act so foolishly anymore. I know have one girlfriend and she is enough for me and I am still man enough. I have also talked to my friends, so that they too can change. When I attend the next episode, I will invite them to come along.

I saw that having many girlfriends doesn’t make you a real man. Real men are those who take responsibilities for their lives and others. I now realise that when I had all those many ladies, my life was chaos. I lied everyday to them; telling lies and coming up with excuses consumed my life daily.

Male BVV participant, aged 34

The most significant change will be my behaviour towards my girlfriend. I never knew that having sex without your partner’s consent is rape. I had this habit of wanting sex when ever I felt like it, I never took my partners feelings into consideration. Men have this thing that if a woman does not want to sleep with you that specific night, it means that she is cheating on him, that is why I always use to demand sex when ever I felt like it. After I attended the BVV sessions it became a bit clearer to me, especially the comments that came from the discussions afterwards. I could hear good comments from the group.

Female community BVV facilitator, aged 42

I used to be forced by my partner not to use condoms; his excuse was that he was apparently allergic to condoms. I tried all this time that we are together to explain it to him what danger we are putting ourselves into. We are already infected with the HIV virus and I kept on telling him about the dangers of secondary infections. After I attended the BVV training I decided to change my behaviour, because in the first place I am a leader in the community and people come to me for advice, I give them advice but I do not practise what I am preaching. That is when I decided to change. After the training I sat down with him and told him what I learned in training. I made it clear to him that women have the right to refuse sex with their husbands. I made it clear that I am not refusing to have sex with him, but if there is no condom there will be no sex. I motivated my argument by telling him that this is for our own good because secondary infections will weaken our immune system faster. The training gave me a lot of courage to talk to my partner and it also gave me enough information to get my story together. I got to convince my husband to start using condoms on a regular basis, this is a big change and a positive one.

There is a lady who wanted to leave her husband after she was diagnosed with HIV, and she also used to consume a lot of alcohol probably because of the trauma. She was in a devastated state, she gave up on life, but after we invited her to listen to BVV, she changed. She is still with her husband and she consumes less alcohol, and she promised to quit completely which is not easy. It is significant to me because we changed one person’s life, and that to me is a step towards the right direction. Change is hard but if people look at us and see how we have changed, they will also be inspired to change; it might be slow but it will happen.

Stories about the FW intervention

The following are quotes from selected stories about changes young women attributed to the FW intervention. Click on a quote to access the story in full.

FW participant, aged 20

We stopped selling pies and fresh chips because we did not have firewood to cook them and some of us were refusing to go collect firewood, saying they are busy during the weekends.

With selling towels we found that when customers get something from us on credit they refused to pay back or they pay at a later time than agreed.

We have ploughed maize and watermelon; they are not yet ready to be harvested. We managed with the help of our parents to buy net so to cover our garden. An aunt of one of us has given us her backyard so that we can use it for gardening.

At first I was not interested in starting any business. I did not do well at BGCSE, then I did a course on secretarial studies. I have been looking for a job but I couldn’t get one. I have a baby boy. I got pregnant when I was writing my final exams on the secretarial course and I did not do well. Therefore I had no hope in life; I also had no idea that I could start my own business up until XX approached me. Now we are running a business. We are frying fish and selling it to the community; we also sell fresh fish. I never thought I could do a hands on job; I was looking for an office job.

FW participant, aged 22

I was living a hopeless life. I failed my form 5. I misplaced/lost books at school; I owe P2800. I had no one to pay for me. My mom passed away in 2001. I learned a lot in FW. I managed to open myself a tuck-shop by the Senior School main entrance. I am selling sweets. The little money I get I save it; I have managed to save P600 so far. I want to go pay for the books, get my certificates and start looking for a job. I never thought I could make money and manage to save money for the books that I owe.

FW participant, aged 25

Being part of FW has helped me in a number of ways. I used to be a very reserved person who was very bad in a group setting. I have since been a lot better in dealing with people in a group. I am also a very shy person and found standing in front of people to speak very difficult. That has changed as well, it is not exactly where I wish for it to be but it has got better. I have also found the zeal to do something about my life and utilise government programmes. I am currently applying for a grant where I will be issued with chickens to breed at home. I am collecting quotations that are required. I have collected all the three others for the construction of a chicken house. I am facing challenges and delays in finding quotations for building bricks and river sand. The next batches of quotations I will be sourcing are those for vaccines and feeds. My eyes have been opened.

FW participant, aged 26

We started a vegetable garden. We stopped when it got unbearably hot. We will re-plant soon as the temperatures are dropping. We are in the process of sourcing operating space for a nursery school. Individually I put through a proposal for a gym last year. It was declined and I am resubmitting again this year.

There has been a LOT of change in my life. I was never business minded; it is like I am a completely new person. I have since been very entrepreneurial and have started selling sweets at home. I put through proposals to the Department of Youth TWICE in two consecutive years. One for dog breeding and the other for a gymnasium. Both of them got declined but it doesn’t bother me a bit. I will be re-submitting this year. I have learnt and realised that a person can lift her/himself up and it is our individual responsibility to do that. I have created a name for myself in the village and people now know me- for good things. There hasn’t place I haven’t been to when I was doing market researches for the two declined projects. People continue to show me support, they ask me how far it is going and what I have managed. It has been a good change in my life. I am going places I never knew existed.

FW participant aged 25

I have gained a lot of knowledge during this project; personally and on business. I used to have a very low self-esteem; I never thought I had any value. My mother passed away when I was young; I grew up with my grandmother who was very abusive. She called me useless everyday and said that I will never finish school. She used to tell me that I must just get a man to give me a baby and that will make me useful. I first got pregnant at 19 but unfortunately, I miscarried. I again fell pregnant in 2009 and gave birth to a boy. When the baby was a few months old, I attended the CIET training. [With tears in her eyes], I used to enjoy the sessions and was so sad when the training finished because those were some of my happier days. Meme XX, used to tell us that we must respect ourselves and that we must not believe or allow people to destroy our lives. That message stuck with me because of what I have gone through as a child.

I now know that, instead of depending on someone to take care of me, I can get assistance in opening up my business. I have the basic skills and knowledge to run a business. Me and my child we will never go hungry. I am also very hardworking and can do anything if I get the necessary assistance. I know I am not useless like my grandmother used to tell me. I know I have value and can be someone in life. With the skills I gained, I can better my life and that of my child.

FW participant, aged 21

I did not complete high school and this made me really miserable. But attending the training really gave me a new lease of life. I got encouragement to stand up and stop feeling sorry for myself. When the other girls dropped out, I decided to start with my own business. I got N$500.00 from my uncle and aunt and travelled to XX and bought a few items. They were sold out very quickly. My business is doing well and I am really happy. I got the courage to stop feeling sorry for myself and start my own business.

FW participant, aged 20

At the beginning things went very well; we contributed and started with our short term business selling okapana and braai meat, and we made enough money. Our plan was to sell a plate of food at the agricultural shows. We went and bought food but there was petrol in the car and it spilled over the food. We didn’t sell and ended up eating the food ourselves because no one could buy the food with petrol taste. After that we got a tender to prepare food for a CIET training, and things went well. After we received the money, some of the group members embezzled the money and it discouraged the rest of the group; that’s how we ended up splitting.

We have plans to build a place where we can bake our own bread and sell it. And we are doing it with XX; he is helping us a lot really. A few days back we went to the school and asked that if we open our bakery will they stop buying bread from other places and buy from us and they said yes. We already have the oven, the only problem was the rain, because we need to build the oven into a concrete structure. Now that the rain has stopped we will continue with our plans.

The most significant change that CIET brought in my life is being the independent woman that I am today. When the group was not doing anything, I decided to start a small business of my own. I am currently baking muffins from home and I supply the local shops with muffins. I got this idea because of CIET, thank you for opening our eyes. The muffin business is doing quite well, I receive a lot of orders a day. I really learned how to run a business and now I am incorporating everything that I was taught by CIET. I will still continue with the project, when the bakery opens, and I can perhaps share my skills with the rest of the group.

Before I attended the training I was waiting for my father to do everything for me but after the training I knew that it was time for me to stand up and do things for myself, rather than wait for my dad. I was never into business but now I am looking for more business opportunities.

FW participant, aged 25

We are running a small take away; selling chicken, potatoes, raw and boiled eggs, meat and soft drinks. Although business is a bit slow at times, we are not giving up. We get more customers as from 17h00 when people knock-off from work and during the weekend. We are making enough money to cover for our basic needs and to slowly expand our business. We are now also selling raw eggs (30 in a box). We buy them via my cousin at a farm in XX for N$22 per box and we sell them for N$38.00; making a profit of N$16.00 per box. We order 3 boxes each with 12 boxes with 30 eggs inside. That amounts to N$192 profit per box. We only started recently with the selling of the raw eggs and we are really making money.

We will now be able to build our small kitchen because we were operating from my family shop. We have already formed 600 bricks and are short 250 more. We still have to buy a door frame and a door; window frames and windows and corrugated iron for the roof. We are confident that before the end of the year, we will be operating from our new kitchen.

I will talk on behalf of myself and a little bit about the other 2 girls in our group. This project has really changed our lives. We are empowered to take care of ourselves by generating our own income. A woman with power is a fighter and will not give up. We will work hard to make our business a success. We want to have control of our lives and owning a business and having an income is one way we can have control over our lives.

I am empowered to take decisions that I know will be best for me. I will not put myself at risk because of a man. If I don’t want, it means I don’t want. He can respect that or he must get lost. I am empowered with information to better my life and no one can take that away from me. I know the importance of making the rights decision not to risk my life.

FW participant, aged 28

The group started of by trying to run a salon, but things did not work out because we had problems with working equipment and regular people to work at the salon. We then ventured into making achaar and running a pre school at the community’s youth centre.

Both the achaar and the pre school business are running quite well. We have 10 pupils at the moment and are
expecting more to join in the 2nd term. We have evenly distributed the work load amongst ourselves. We are still trying to get donors to help us furnish our school and buy toys for the children. We have had great support from the elders of the community and we are proud products of CIET’s FW.

FW made me to stop being lazy. I gained courage and became brave to start something to make my life better. At times the little things that I started failed because I was on my own; group work has made work much easier. I had a small business of selling fruits and chips that I had closed down for sometime but after the workshop I decided to stop being lazy and re open my business. I am currently thinking of building a small structure at home and starting a salon there. The workshop helped me a lot; now I am much more open minded and daring when it comes to business ideas. I disclosed my status for the first time with the group during the life path exercise. I had not even told my daughter about my status, I feared that she would not understand but after the workshop I found courage to tell her. I feel much lighter, more comfortable and much happier; this has done good to me in a way that I cannot explain.

I really see the difference in my life. If CIET never gave me the opportunity to make my life better I would not be where I am today. FW gave hope and change in my life in a positive way. I dream big everyday and want to change the lives of others with the help that CIET offered me.

FW participant, aged 22

I am the secretary of the group called siyazicecesha (we are developing ourselves). We are making and selling polish to schools and the community.

When we were at the workshop we talked about being able to talk to people to get what you want. Now I am able to stand before people and encourage them to buy our product. I can now sell products to anyone, I do not discriminate. I used to be a shy person.

We once went to XX High School, this is my former school. One of the things that made me scared was that I dropped out of school because I fell pregnant. This made me very embarrassed, I was not able to stand before my former teachers.

However, having gone through the focused workshop I was able to stand before my former teachers and sell our products. Now I have a relationship with one of the teachers and am able to chat with her freely over the phone. She orders her polish from me most of the time. I see my dropping out situation as a past experience and a learning curve.

This story is significant because it changed my life. I am not shy anymore, I am able to talk before people and I am able to be free even in front of strangers.

FW participant, aged 25

We had a chicken braai stall in the community but then there were disputes among members and we decided to take the money and distribute it among members.

I decided to continue to sell chickens (frozen); then I started cooking and selling food in take-aways. I worked with one of the FW group members but she then found a job and had to go to work. I continued on my own selling frozen chickens to the community as well as cooking for a soccer club and for other CIET Focused Workshops. The soccer club did not pay me well and CIET workshops are seasonal so it is not a steady income. So I decided to become a hawker. I stock up shoes, clothes, etc in Johannesburg and come back and sell them in Swaziland.

Before I was involved with CIET I tried to do business but I did not see the profits; I was not disciplined with money. After the workshop I learned how to handle money as well as working with people in a group; I did not know how to do that before. For example, before, when I would get money I would use it for useless things, but now when I get money from, for example, a catering tender, I am able to use it usefully. I help out at home with groceries and electricity units. I am able to set aside business money and I only use money I pay myself with from the profit.

Now I see myself as a person among other people. At home they also recognize that I am helping out. I think I can now be able to stand on my own, be independent.

FW participant, aged 31

The group attempted to have a vegetable garden patch, they succeeded but due to having children and the disputes among the group I decided to leave the group.

I sell vegetables, I buy them from XX main market and come back to sell them in the community. My business is doing very well. I started with a few customers but now the number is increasing. There is not much profit in this business but I have gained experience in handling a business.

When I joined the workshop I was unemployed. I wanted to start my own business but did not have many ideas. After the workshop I learnt how to save for my little business and began to plan for what I really want. I learnt that success is not in the big monies but in every little effort that I put towards making myself better. Selling vegetables has taught me to save and manage my own money. Now I still dream big. Supplying food hampers. The activities that we did during the workshop were practical. I learnt how to communicate with people and dealing with customers.

This was a great change. I am no longer the same. Now I am able to raise my children with the little money I make; I am less dependent. I have started my journey to greater heights.