The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) has extended a $100 000 grant to Lupane Women’s Development Trust to boost women’s projects in the district.

The handover ceremony was held at Lupane Women’s Development Trust offices.

The awarding of the grant is expected to enhance business activities for Lupane Women’s Development Trust which include bee-keeping and weaving and facilitate the introduction of irrigation facilities to promote agricultural activities at a plot owned by the trust.

United States Deputy Chief of Mission, Ms Jeniffer Savage said her country will continue to support capacity building programmes for women and youths and pledged to assist the trust in marketing its products.

“We will help you find solutions to any challenges that may arise during the time you implement your project. You will have people to assist and we urge you to take advantage of the expertise and funding,” she said.

USADF Country Programme Coordinator, Doreen Chimwara explained that the foundation provides a maximum of $250 000 to local women and youths embarking on agricultural activities.

“Lupane got $100 000 to improve the craft enterprises so that they promote craft, the grant will also support their farming activities. You need to be a registered association with proper financial records to benefit because we want to know that your business in viable,” she said.

Stakeholders, who include representatives from the Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Cooperative Development, hailed the support, adding that the grant will enhance self reliance in the district.

Lupane Women’s Development Trust started off as Lupane Weavers Association in 1995 with 14 members from three wards: Lupaka, Gomoza and Pupu.

The membership has now grown to 4837, some of whom have represented the district at various local, regional and international trade shows.