Location and general information

Location Democratic Republic of Congo, Kalebuka
Start date 02/01/2024
End date 01/31/2025
Cost of the project €104,000
Foundation funding €60,000
Project identifier 20230592
Partners Malaika
Categories Employability - Gender Equality - Personal development - Strengthening partnerships


Girls and young women in rural DRC have limited career options. Even for those fortunate enough to have completed their schooling, the path to economic independence is fraught with risks of violence, sexual exploitation, dependency and abuse.

Cultural norms and gender stereotypes also play a significant role in restricted career choices. Many young women are forced to enter the informal sector of low-paid and often exploitative jobs that offer little security and limited prospects for upward mobility, trapping them in a cycle of poverty and vulnerability.

Entrepreneurship is a potential pathway to economic empowerment and job creation. However, little funding is available to support aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly young women, who struggle to access the necessary capital and resources to start and scale their ventures.

Entrepreneurship is rarely considered as a viable career option due to a lack of early entrepreneurship education and a supportive infrastructure. The absence of mentors and role models makes it difficult for aspiring female entrepreneurs to navigate the entrepreneurial landscape.

Project goals

  • Increased entrepreneurial awareness, with students and community centre beneficiaries demonstrating a keen understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur
  • Improved self-confidence, illustrated by at least 70% of participants expressing a heightened belief in their ability to succeed as entrepreneurs or gain employment
  • A rise in the number of aspiring young entrepreneurs
  • Creation of a mentorship network of at least five successful female entrepreneurs actively mentoring and guiding future female entrepreneurs
  • Access to professional training at the Malaika community centre for more than 1,500 young women and girls, equipping them with the skills they need to find decent and dignified employment

Project content

Malaika has launched an entrepreneurship and leadership programme for girls aged 13–19 in rural Kalebuka. Girls at the Malaika school will be introduced to the world of work, coached to develop their professional aspirations and equipped with practical skills to prepare them for employment.

Teachers will receive tailored training, entrepreneurship clubs will be set up, and a mentorship scheme will provide additional support and guidance. At the community centre, young women will receive vocational training, including in male-dominated industries, and guest speakers will be invited to share insights.

A thorough assessment of the challenges and opportunities for female entrepreneurship in Kalebuka will be conducted and a sustainability plan will ensure that the project has a lasting impact for young women in the community.

Malaika aims to forge partnerships with local businesses and organisations to provide internships and job-shadowing opportunities. Additionally, support will be provided to help the young women to develop business plans and present their entrepreneurial ideas to local investors and business leaders.


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