This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating the work of MMO, our managed office space business in Mozambique, to support women into meaningful employment. The company was set up by Evy van Weezendonk and is managed by Sany Weng: women who #ChooseToChallenge…themselves, and others.
Too many women across Africa are economically excluded and in Mozambique’s cities 19-24 year old females suffer the highest unemployment rates in the country. MMO has always supported female interns and last year became a training centre for MUVA, a UK Aid funded programme to help young women find meaningful employment through supported internships.
Beatriz Nhanala (34) was MMO’s very first employee. MMO has supported her to take English classes and IT courses. She has recently become a mother, benefiting from their extended maternity leave package.
“I joined MMO in 2012 as an office assistant and cleaner,” says Beatriz. “Then I moved to a hospitality position and started to support the administrative team. In April 2020 I was offered the position of receptionist. I’m loving it! I enjoy customer care and Marla- the senior receptionist- is my mentor.
Women face many barriers in Mozambique. Sexual harassment at work, domestic violence and difficulties in obtaining work in general. We must know how to defend ourselves when it happens and have a place to complain so that it does not happen again.”
Sany Weng is MMO’s General Manager. She says she was nervous to take the position at first, but in the last 3 years she has managed two office expansions, opened a new facilities division, kept the company afloat during the COVID pandemic and is now setting up a new MMO Branch in Pemba, 2000 km north of Maputo.
“Evy, our director and founder is my mentor,” says Sany. “Her personality and assertiveness made me think “I want to be like her.” We got along right from the start, perhaps because we shared a passion for interior decorating and we always saw eye-to-eye on new fit-outs.
“In 2017 Evy offered me the position of General Manager. At first I was nervous, but I could also see it was a real opportunity for personal growth and extra responsibility. I was worried to disappoint Evy, especially because MMO in a way was like her “baby”. But it’s been a real honour to be the new face of MMO and lead our team to great achievements.
“On human rights and gender equality, Mozambique seems nearly 50 years behind. Society is ruled by a macho mentality and culture. We are starting to see some changes in Maputo but it will take time and a lot of work for women in distant provinces to be allowed to express themselves. “When I was 18 I wish someone had prepared me that there would be really hard times in life. But I know now that there are also many good ones. We must just have to keep trying and never give up. Work hard and life will provide.”
International Women’s Day 2021: Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.