2017 is coming to an end, and our Chief Executive Lucy Ifould is sharing her highlights of a wonderfully successful year for The Mlambe Project.

I wanted to take the opportunity to look back on what has been achieved in 2017 and to thank everyone who has been involved or supported us in one way or another. It has been such an incredible year for The Mlambe Project!

NUMBER 1 HIGHLIGHT: OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH BUILDING MALAWI

  • This partnership has resulted in our first external earthbag building contract at Lingadzi Academy in Lilongwe.
  • The double classroom block is our biggest earthbag building to date, so it has been a big challenge and it’s amazing to know that we can do it!
  • By having an earthbag building in Lilongwe, it will be much easier for us to promote the use of earthbags across Malawi as people and organisations will be able to visit the site and see how good the building looks!
  • The partnership has been a great opportunity for us to learn how these relationships and contracts work.
  • We aim to get more external building contracts this year as it is part of our long-term strategy that one day the Mlambe Project Ltd. can be completely self-sufficient. With thanks to Building Malawi, we have taken our first step toward this goal.

Key Highlights:

  • This year has seen a significant expansion to the Mlambe family with a full team of volunteers giving up their time to provide assistance in Marketing, Fundraising, Building, Education, Innovation, Finance, and Policy – the high level of expertise within the team has resulted in huge improvements to our activity on and off the ground. I feel very lucky to be supported by such a wonderful team – everyone is incredibly committed, especially given the challenges of working remotely.
  • Our Project Manager, Steven Kambalame, and Treasurer and Assistant Project Manager, Geoffrey Namagowa, have continued to improve their skills, gain confidence in their abilities and, as always, have been rising to each new challenge that comes. They have been an absolute dream to work so closely with this year and make me feel so at home when I’m in the village. It has also been really nice having them in Lilongwe with the Building Malawi project as I get to see even more of them.

 

 

  • Now that I am permanently based out in Malawi, communication between the Malawian and UK teams is much easier and has enabled us all to work together much more closely.
  • Relationships with other organisations in Malawi have improved, for example with HELP Malawi, RIPPLE Africa, and Fishermans Rest. It is hugely important that NGOs working in the same country or field work together and share ideas. I am particularly grateful to RIPPLE Africa which provided so much advice for our Changu Changu Moto Stove Project.
  • This year we built toilet and shower blocks for the teachers houses, a new school block, and an earthbag teachers office at Mlambe School. All of our buildings have seen a significant step up in quality and design thanks to the Malawian and UK building teams working together. With each new building we do, the team is able to improve their skills and experience and we are constantly on the lookout for any improvements that can be made to the building process.
  • Successfully raising money to build the final school block at Mlambe School was a massive achievement. We were under an extremely tight time pressure to start and finish building before the new school year started so that the school could be expanded to Standard 7. Thank you so much to everyone who supported this campaign and made it happen.
  • Our University of the People students have continued to make us proud by being so dedicated to their studies, especially given the constant challenges with dodgy internet connection. A special congratulations goes to John Bamusi who was put on the University honours list and received a renewal of his scholarship.
  • The Changu Changu Moto stove project was the perfect first project to go through our ‘Innovation Model’. Everyone in the village now has one and loves them. It was also a really great opportunity for us to reach out further into the community and involve more people with The Mlambe Project.
  • This year we have had a particularly high number of volunteers coming out to Malawi and getting involved with activities in the village – volunteers in the village are what has kept us going over the years, so please keep coming!

A special thank you to these supporters:

  • Capital Group, our first corporate sponsor!
  • Friends of Malawi Association, thank you for supporting us again and it was great to attend your garden party in the UK this summer.
  • CharityJob who selected us as one of their supported charities this year.
  • Rotary – this year we gave a number of talks to different rotary clubs and are currently being supported in making a Rotary Global Grant application. Special thank you to John Stanton from Kenilworth Rotary for his help with this along with those working at the Limbe Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Karen.
  • Bedes’ school who organised the ‘March for Mlambe’
  • Worldwide Action who donated money towards the Earthbag teacher’s office and who we hope to continue working with to promote the use of Earthbags internationally. Graeme from Worldwide Action was able to visit the village this year and we hope to plan some more projects for next year.
  • Andrew and Sarah May-Miller who donated money towards the new school block, and were able to come out and visit the ‘May-Miller’ classroom this year. We look forward to working together again next year.
  • Volunteers Chelsea and Jess raised money to go towards building another Earthbag teachers house next year.
  • Our star individual fundraiser Vanda who cycled 3000 miles to raise money towards the next Earthbag teachers house.
  • I would also like to thank Jamie and Saalim for trusting me with this opportunity and for their ongoing support and putting up with whatsapp questions and emails at all times of the day!