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An Eight Minute Read: Progress Made in 2022 And What's In Store For 2023

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

2022 has brought about further development, but we still need to reach our pre-Covid funding levels. So, we continue to review and reposition projects, to enable us to continue serving communities, despite increasing financial constraints.

We have stepped back from some projects, and for others we have reduced input. Despite this, we continue to be amazed at what is achieved each year and the hundreds of willing hands and hearts worldwide and in Malawi, that make it all possible.

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Madzi Alipo (MA) continues to evaluate and embrace new and leading technologies, working on more opportunities and capabilities, engaging with global partners.

Madzi Alipo grows as a leading, dedicated hand pump and water management repair and maintenance programme. The team is recognised nationally for its knowledge and expertise in all aspects of handpump repair and management. Harold and Norman currently lead the teams.

Work with the Blantyre District Water Office continues, using the MA App - MAMS - recording the status of all hand pumps in Blantyre Rural, where the Afridev handpump functionality is at a phenomenal 90%. You may recall, we started the programme because local surveys reported a less than 60% functionality in Blantyre Rural, with other locations as low as 40%.

Feedback from assessing funders in 2022 described the MA work as outstanding, highlighting the quality of work, reporting, accountability, technical development, and innovation from the team. We are delighted with the work and the progress.

Outstanding is an accolade well deserved, as the project continues to partner with international bodies in research, testing new water technologies, and testing water quality in the lab and out in the field. To expand the reach and accessibility of reporting and support, the Madzi Alipo app is presently being translated into the local languages.

Read more about Madzi Alipo

BRAVE remodelled in 2021. We changed the curriculum, and we changed our goal, this is the result:

Instead of delivering the programme to every school in the area over five years, we shook things up and decided to serve selected specific schools over the academic years annually. We can give a smaller number of schools excellent continuity in education, making your donations more impactful, by creating positive cultural and generational change in these schools.

This year we saw 11 schools, totalling 540 girls and boys. We had the pleasure of a long-term volunteer on the team, who brought her fun and energy to 4 schools last term!

268 girls received cloth sanitary packs, knickers, soap and a campaign band. 257 boys received pants, soap and a campaign band.

"Brave changes the future of the children who take part", said our volunteer Isabel.

Subjects range from discussing how to look after yourself physically, to looking out for and caring for each other respectfully. The course also covers school attendance and commitment to your studies. Pupils typically have big aspirations for school after finishing BRAVE. Chifundo said "Brave teaches us to work hard", her peer added "we know more about ourselves, while it matures our mind", and another "BRAVE encourages us girls, to have a future". Girls and boys completing the programme claim they learned how to help, communicate and understand others. John, a standard 6 student, told us "topics covered need to be a part of everyone's curriculum".

2023 BRAVE is intended to reach 12 schools. Each year we will work with the new cohort of standard six learners.

Malawi Police run the Safe House. It is in constant use, and the police have reported a notable reduction in domestic violence. The Safe House has been open for over a year. Victim Support Officers are still on hand and have regular cases. The facility helps provide a safe and unique service for the area.

Read more about BRAVE

The Good Food Project Continues …. While we can ….

It has been nearly 11 years of school dinners in Madziabango and Nankhumba zones. When we approached Mary's Meals asking for food in more of our schools, we would never have thought that a partnership would mean the fantastic provision of feeding over 5,000 children a meal every school day since.

You stepped up. Thank you. Back then, porridge was a break-time meal, causing too much disruption to the school day - so we changed the routine in 2018 to serve early breakfasts, filling bellies ready for a full day of learning …..then Cov19 hit, and the project changed again with school closures and reduced funding. The project adapted, delivering porridge to families struggling with hunger over the pandemic. Now, in 2022 schools are open, and children benefit from learning with food in their tummies again.

In 2022, seven schools and 3,500 children received school breakfasts. The programme currently needs to be funded, presently we have a shortfall of GBP38,000. We have some pledged donations, but we will face some tough decisions this year if we are still looking for the full funds.

We are remodelling our website, to help you see where donations are most needed!

Read more about The Good Food Project

The Tree Project: Last year we planted 48,350 trees and 1,800 Changu's were built.

2022 was another exciting year of working with communities, schools and prisons to grow sustainable forests. The Tree Project team successfully supported 40 communities to collect seeds, germinate in nurseries and then plant forests (January/February 2022). Other nurseries were initiated, but did not complete the programme, due to extensive flooding and private land sales. The team have spent 2022 working with farmers to plant indigenous, fruit and agroforestry species, all of which will have transforming socioeconomic benefits for them and their wider family. Keep an eye out for exciting updates on this in the Spring.

Eleven community tree planting and conservation workshops have been held for adults and workshops for school trips at the Fisherman's Rest Skills Training Centre, teaching a total of 310 adults and children.

Another successful Christmas Tree Twinning took place in 2022. Thank you to everyone who twinned their tree for another year! More details to follow later in February. Adequate financing remains a challenge for the conservation programme

Changu Changu Moto:

Running since 2015, the project has changed thousands of lives. Reducing firewood consumption by up to 70% and creating a much safer and more efficient cooking environment. In 2022 this continued, with over 1800 stoves being constructed and 35,200 seeds provided to the stove owners. Tubes and seeds are given out with each Changu, along with training and instruction on germination and nursery care. The additional seeds were distributed throughout the nurseries.

Changu currently needs funding, meanwhile we must downsize the project in 2023 to manage with the funds available in our general funding pot.

Despite our smaller capacity in 2023, we will still reach as many households as we can. Households will change forever with the simple introduction of a fuel-efficient Changu stove.

Read more about the Tree Project

Schools are still recovering from lockdowns, suspensions, strikes and changing term dates, but the students have proved resilient.

Schools finally regained pre-Cov19 attendance rates at the end of 2022.

Although the Cov19 epidemic did not manifest in Malawi as in Europe and other continents, it has continued to have a severe impact on education and school children. We still see increased teenage pregnancies, early marriages, poor exam results, and widespread absenteeism.

At Horton CDSS, it is an exciting academic year. October 2022 has begun for the first time, with the whole school filled from Form 1 to Form 4. The school is now at capacity and can offer 200 more students an education they wouldn't have otherwise had.

In December 2021, the Horton CDSS Form 2 students took the interim JCE exams (Junior Certificate of Education). These are externally examined, and despite tough 2021 and 2022 circumstances, 48 students passed, 7 failed. For the JCE exams, Horton was positioned 12th out of 40 secondary schools in Blantyre Rural. Henry the Headmaster, and Val and Kevin must get credit for their hard work elevating the school to where it is today.

We have more sponsorship graduates!

Three students sponsored at Nankumba CDSS have taken their MSCE final exams and passed. We are very proud of them.

Fisherman’s Rest Projects presently sponsors 34 children in Horton Forms 1-4. Twelve sponsored students sat JCE exams, and eight passed.

The 4 students who failed, will leave school at GCSE equivalent level, opening up their funded places for future students.

2023 will also see the first cohort of students graduate Form 4 from Horton CDSS.

For two years we have transported teachers from Chadzunda Market to St Mary’s Primary and Horton Secondary Schools. For 2023 this service continues.

Throughout the last two academic years Fisherman’s Rest has given accommodation to five student teachers. For the 2023 academic year this service is being reviewed.

Read more about our school projects

School Development and Plans

Development continues at Horton CDSS. A perimeter of trees and hedges is needed, maybe a fence. Larger water tanks have been purchased and will be installed, and piped water to the science labs and toilet blocks will be improved. Additional classrooms will double the school's capacity from 200 -400 places. This is a longer-term development plan for the coming years. We have funds set aside to buy more land for this development. Although agreements are in place in principle, formalities need to be processed in order to complete, as the land will be redesignated from community land to leasehold land, protected by law and held for the community under the FRCP charity.

A container full of school furniture has recently arrived from the UK and will help provide desks and chairs for a few hundred of the school children still sitting on classroom floors. There will also be filing cabinets and resources provided to support teachers.

Following the loss of the Nasundu School Bridge in cyclone Ana in 2021. A very generous gift has encouraged and mobilized us to do the groundwork for replacing the bridge. This project will likely take a few years, as more funds must be raised as the ever-increasing volume and frequency of stormwater require a considerably stronger structure. Farming practice needs to change along the river, so many agreements must be made with communities and the government to reduce the impact of flash flooding.

Read more about our school projects

Libraries - The Key to Student Success.

The libraries at Horton CDSS and St Mary's continue to be supported by visiting volunteers.

The established libraries have been handed over to school management, and FRCP extension staff continue to monitor these.

A reading room has been established at Namende Primary School.

The intended Madziabango Primary School library remains at ring beam height, and the building will continue as finances become available.

We are considering a possible classroom conversion into an extensive library at Mbame Primary School, to better support the large number of students attending the school.

Updates Beyond Our Regular Projects

Our Chick Chick project has drawn to a close in line with funding.

Tilitonse is open, the children receive afternoon phala, and resources are available for the community to access. We have yet to restart the preschool and structured activities in the afternoons. When groups and teams visit, they run holiday clubs and film nights which everyone adores!

We have a container full of school equipment donated from the old Tasker Milward school in Pembrokeshire now in Malawi, with a second container planned.

The training centre continues to be busy with WASH and conservation programmes. The arrival of the 40ft container is using warehousing space next door. The assembly and distribution of the furniture to schools will take place from there. The training centre will benefit from some of the cupboards and desks arriving on the container, while the majority of the items will be for schools in the Nankumba and Madziabango education zones.

A second container from Pembrokeshire with the balance of furniture that could not fit into the first container and additional available school furniture and laboratory equipment will be another considerable assistance to the schools in Blantyre rural. We can't wait!

Read more about beyond our projects

So what is in store for 2023?

Continued general project activities.

Complete the translation of the Madzi Alipo App.

TGFP continues - Feeding 3500 children with porridge in the morning before school

Ongoing groundwork to replace the washed away bridge at Nasundu

Reviewing the possibility of completing the library for Madziabango FPS and a library for Mbame FPS

Integrate parents into the BRAVE program to give education continuity at home.

Expand the BRAVE programme to one more school.

Plant 50,000+ trees and expand the project to support more communities and individual farmers.

Ship into Malawi 1 more container full of school resources.

Complete water tanks and piping system at Horton CDSS

Complete pathways and storm drains at Horton CDSS

Complete science lab at Horton CDSS

Increase our funding base!

Financial details about our projects can be found here on the Charity Commission's website.

Donate to our projects here.

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