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By Peter Kenworthy, Africa Contact's Swaziland group
“I really have big hope for SWASMO now,” says Beatrice Bitchong, Project Coordinator at the Swaziland Single Mothers Organization (SWASMO).
SWASMO, a volunteer organisation, is the only organisation to work with the many heavily stigmatised single mothers in Swaziland, a group that accounts for over a third of all pregnancies in Swaziland but who receive no government support. When their families find out that these women are pregnant, they are often expelled from school and ostracised and stigmatised by their neighbours, communities and families.
SWASMO’s self-help groups therefore promote self-reliance, mutual support, mobilisation and education to try and improve the position and consciousness of single mothers by mobilising and educating poor single mothers in the poorest areas of Manzini, Swaziland’s main industrial town, to become self-reliant, self-aware and healthy.
“The projects are going quite well,” says Beatrice Bitchong. She says that SWASMO also held a successful march in the rural areas to celebrate International Woman’s Day together with the Foundation for Socio-Economic Justice and plan to hold a fundraising dinner party on the 28th of May at the Greater Alpha restaurant in Manzini.
And Maternity Worldwide, a Danish organisation that works with health care, financial security and protection for women and children in Africa, recently contacted SWASMO to discuss plans for a self-help project. “This is quite exciting and encouraging,” says Beatrice.
Read more about SWASMO