By the end of our lifetime, the need for what we do will no longer exist. That’s our dream anyway.
We’re here to work ourselves out of a job.
This is why we do things the way we do. We don’t give handouts, but work hard to help people living in poverty to stand on their own. We come alongside those in need to show them how to build a bright future for their families.
We believe that local people and organisations should be the main driving force behind change in their communities. Their ownership not only helps us to ensure that projects have lasting impact, but we find that the best solutions to problems are rooted in the knowledge held by local people.
For this reason we do all of our work through small, grassroots organisations who are accountable to their communities.
We put a lot of effort into maintaining transparent, equal relationship with our partners. In the context of genuine partnership, pairing resources and advice with local knowledge and expertise makes for a potent combination. What we can achieve together is far greater than what we could ever hope to achieve apart.
Areas of Focus
Our projects centre around 4 key areas, which are in line with the UN Sustainable Development goals, and priorities identified by the government of Malawi. This four-pronged approach enables us to maximise our long-term impact on the lives of children.
Nearly half of Malawi’s population is under the age of 15, and therefore enabling children to have a healthier, happier childhood not only has drastic positive implications for personal well-being, but on the nation as a whole.
Livelihoods & Economic Empowerment
We help men and women earn good incomes so that they can meet the needs of their families.
We do this through:
- Basic financial services, in the form of ‘Village Banks’ (or Village Savings & Loan Associations). These informal community-led institutions provide people who would otherwise have no access to financial services, with a place to save money and access small loans and insurance. Men and women get together in groups of up to 25, and we help them to elect a committee and write a constitution. They receive comprehensive weekly support as they save small amounts of money in a joint fund. As the amount of cash in their safe grows, members can apply to borrow a loan, which is repaid with interest. The fund grows, and members receive their savings back after 9-12 months with a typical interest rate of around 35%. Members are helped to invest their savings wisely, such as in a business or in household welfare.
Agricultural training. The majority of community members are dependent on agriculture, and most practice subsistence farming – nearly all of their produce is used for households consumption. As a result families have very low incomes, and can’t access things like school fees, medicines or clothes. Training in agricultural production and marketing enables farmers to start using their land to generate income. They are enabled to grow valuable crops, process them, store them and get them to market.
Business training enables community members to invest small loans in profitable micro enterprises. There are almost no employment opportunities for people in the communities in which we work, so starting a business is necessary in order to generate income.
Water, Sanitation & Hygiene
Clean water access is a huge issue for many communities, resulting in extremely high rates of infection and child mortality. We provide access to clean water points, sanitation facilities as well as education.
We work with communities to improve primary education access, by improving school facilities as well as working with parents to help them to prioritise the schooling of their children.
The equality of men and women is a theme that runs through all of our work. For communities to tackle extreme poverty effectively, women need to be empowered to fully participate in decision making at household and community level.
One way in which we address gender-related issues is through theatre, with performances designed to encourage men, women and children to think about how they jointly make decisions and empower one another.