In 2014, Pennywise connected the Doane Nets Project (DNP) with the Power of Love Foundation (POL) and the NetWorks project was born! We began by developing strategies to connect DNP’s innovative technique for converting waste plastic into useful products with POL’s malaria prevention and micro-finance initiatives with a goal of improve health, generating income and reducing waste in the village of Matero- one of the largest and poorest compounds in Lusaka, Zambia. To date more than 250 Matero residents, mostly women, have participated in Networks workshops.
The program has been a huge success, especially given the challenges faced by many of the participants. Matero is characterized with a high incidence of HIV, AIDS and malaria and unemployment rates above 60%. Most of the women trained by these workshops live on less than $2 per day, have never been to school and some may not know how to read or write. Through the workshops participants have acquired a set of skills that can be used in diverse ways in a relatively short span of time. In addition, they have a better understanding about malaria prevention and care. They have also had new opportunities to work with peers and build networks of support.
Over the summer DNP founder, Dr. Brad Elder, returned to Zambia to work more intensively with a smaller group of especially engaged participants. In just over two weeks, partnering with POL staff, he trained 16 women to use industrial sewing machines to create window screens and install them in their homes. As planning gets underway for the next phase of the project - where we will work to ensure that more homes are sealed from mosquitos and to see Networks participants start viable businesses (businesses that will also make the community cleaner and healthier!) - we wanted to share some of the beautiful- and potentially life saving- results of their efforts.
Contact us to learn more and support this incredible effort!