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KUPES: Transforming women for the future  

By DERRICK SILIMINA

KUPES, a notable young women’s organisation in Zambia is developing many through education and skills empowerment.

“I strongly believe that young women need a push in whichever area that they need a push in, but most importantly, we are living in a very competitive world: a world where a lot of things are going south. And we strongly believe that when the young woman is empowered, inspired and transformed, she sort of acts as a base for the next generation and for generations to come,” KUPES founder and visionary Norena Mutoya Chiteba has said in an exclusive interview.

KUPES, an acronym which stands for Knowledge, Unique, Personal responsibility, Empathy, and Support, is a young women’s network whose target age group is persons aged 18 and 30 years which consists of high school graduates, university/college students and graduates, young corporate staff and entrepreneurs among others.

It aims to empower, mentor, and transform young women from all walks of life and allow them to be in charge of their personal development and agents of positive change.

ESTABLISHED

Established in 2014 with activities commencing in February 2015, the young women’s network started with nine girls and is currently sitting at 3,182 members.

The 2023 KUPES Young Women’s Network Conference held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka was its sixth annual event and was attended by 1,250 participants from Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe, Mufulira, Solwezi, Kabwe, Rufunsa, and Livingstone.

Held under the theme Become! the event was a success due to its attendance. The event was graced by Reverend Bruce Msidi (Keynote Speaker), Pastor Benjamin Mwape, Mainza Kawanu (Urban Evangelist), Mando Chile-Mwango, Wezi Njovu, and Chansa Arhunmwunde.

Giving a talk recently during the 2023 KUPES Young Women’s Network conference, Chansa Arhunmwunde, a financial literacy enthusiast stated that alongside the visionary Lady Norena and eloquent voices of other speakers, they collectively explored the transformative power of ‘becoming.’

“As we strive for ‘becoming’ our best selves, let us recognize the richness found not just in financial success but also in the depth of our character and the positive influence we exert in the world,” Arhunmwunde said.

Lady Norena, as she is fondly called, believes that girls and young women possess untapped potential, hence the need for mentorship and capacity-building tailored to rekindle their hope for a better life.

“We’ve seen quite a lot of positive outcomes from the girls themselves. We’re seeing young women who had totally lost their way, who did not know what they wanted to do. Young women, who kept asking themselves what can I do, who am I? And I’d like to believe for the ones that have been through the network that we’ve been able to answer those questions, but most importantly, provide the tools for them to be able to take up for them for that next level,” she says.

SHARED

Participants shared their memorable experiences and described the 2023 KUPES conference as timely, resourceful and worth attending.

“It was my first time attending this year’s conference and it was more than I expected. It was so powerful and I look forward to the next one – I am coming with my little girls,” said Christine Ntembula, one of the participants.

Francisca Chanda, one of the empowered leaders on the KUPES Leaders Growth Tracks said the women’s network had transformed her life. KUPES recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Cavendish University to give out two scholarships every two years to young women in a bid to empower them with academic support.

“Before I joined KUPES, I was one person who had given up in life, especially since despite passing my high school exams, I had no one to sponsor me to further my studies to tertiary level. But ever since I got the KUPES scholarship, I am now a goal-oriented person in the sense that I have learnt to be me because I now know what I really want to become in life,” said Chanda, who is currently pursuing her studies at Cavendish University in Lusaka.

With a mission to prepare young women for lifelong success by providing them with practical tools, mobilising various resources and connecting them to leaders and mentors, KUPES envision a society where young women have a clearer understanding of who they are, their purpose, self-worth and their capabilities to hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.

DEAF

A notable development at this year’s conference was increased inclusivity. For the first time in KUPES history, the network hosted young women from the Zambia Association for Deaf Women and Girls Empowerment, a progressive move that showcased the organisation’s commitment to inspiring and empowering young women from all walks of life.

 

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