Coping though COVID: Women Helping Other Women

ZAMBIA | Women entrepreneurs have made their mark in the Nakatindi community of Zambia. Both the AKP-supported Chipego Bike Shop (launched in 2015) and the Sishemo Bead Studio (launched in 2019) have become successful economic empowerment initiatives — and an inspiration to young girls.

While we often credit their accomplishments to localized training initiatives, business workshops, and hard work, we rarely highlight the triumphs due to the sisterhood that these entrepreneurs have formed. Despite the odds, gender biases, and circumstances that have come their way, these women have supported their livelihoods and families by also reliably supporting each other.

As businesses adapt and navigate the new territories of COVID, the Chipego and Sishemo women stand by the transformative power of women supporting other women. When news broke that the nearby lodge was temporarily closing and Sishemo Bead Studio’s customer base would effectively be lost overnight, the Chipego Bike Shop ladies offered immediate support. Since March, Chipego has paid the Sishemo ladies a basic salary, while also reducing their own bike shop salaries. With this interest-free loan agreement in place until September, the Chipego Bike Shop will have provided $2,000+ in salary payments to their sister enterprise. Without this relief package, the Sishemo Bead Studio may have been forced to close its doors – leaving the ladies with no income to support their families. The Sishemo ladies are grateful that they can rely on Chipego while their bike shop has reopened with safety precautions.