Visionary and innovate Ellen Chilemba is set to represent Malawi at the Global Teen Leaders (Three Dot Dash Three) Summit in New York next week.
The weeklong summit entitled ‘Just Peace’ is designed to provide the Global Teen Leaders the tools needed to further their work and amplify their messages globally
Eighteen year old Chilemba, who is the executive director of Tiwale Project, will be representing Malawi as part of the thirty young people selected from all over the world.
Chilemba and other participants were chosen for their efforts to promote a more peaceful society by addressing issues related to the basic human needs of food, water, health, shelter, safety, education and the environment in their respective countries.
Who Is Ellen Chilemba?
Born and raised in Thyolo district, Malawi, Ellen was shocked to meet a teen girl around her age who was married to a much older man, had children and lived in poverty – her life just seemed ‘done.’ Ellen decided it was time to show girls like her that their lives are not over and that they can dream, learn and see the world in a different way. Ellen created “Tiwale”, the Chichewa word for “we should enlighten” or “we should be empowered.”
Tiwale works with 18–25 year old girls, providing them with entrepreneurial skills and self-development programs that focus on maturity, confidence and positivity. The girls are also challenged to come up with business ideas.
Those with the best ideas receive a small amount of interest free capital to translate their concepts into reality.
Tiwale is one of the few projects that received the 2012 British Council-Global Changemakers June Grant. With the grant, we hosted a one week leadership and entrepreneurship class that was followed by a business idea challenge. In this challenge our participants paired up in teams of three and came up with a business idea.
The best ideas were then awarded with start-up capital that would be repaid without any interest and over a reasonable period of time. Today, Tiwale is a success story! We had an exciting learning week that covered topics such as; the need-finding process, prototyping, team management and cost-benefit analysis. We had 100 dedicated participants between the ages of 15 years and 32 years. At the end of it all, we 14 teams apply with business plans and the best four plans were awarded with small loans. The 12 women from the winning four teams had ten weeks to repay this loan. At this date, we received back 100% of the money we loaned. All teams were done repaying their loan after the ten weeks; one group even finished by the fourth week. These 12 young women now continue to run their businesses and have strong intentions of returning to school.
About The Summit
Three Dot Dash® is a global initiative of the We Are Family Foundation® designed to recognize and support the efforts of Global Teen Leaders around the world who are actively working on projects that promote a more peaceful society by addressing issues related to basic human needs.
Inspired by the late 13-year-old poet and peacemaker Mattie J.T. Stepanek, Three Dot Dash is an innovative year-round leadership and mentoring program that teaches teen leaders how to “tell their stories” effectively using various forms of media, current technology and distribution methods in order to accelerate their leadership potential, advance their projects, mobilize peers and amplify their work to broader audiences around the world to take action.
Three Dot Dash creates a sustainable worldwide network of individuals, corporations and nonprofit organizations to further the efforts of young leaders by harnessing the power of media, mentoring, and social networking to foster public participation around the globe.