Innovation has been at our core since we began.
We have had success trialling the Earthbag technique as an alternative construction method, and distance learning programmes as alternative education provision. At The Mlambe Project we want to continue trialling innovative, low-cost ideas within the field of development. If successful, these can then be fostered into larger-scale projects. These innovations must be low-cost and high-impact. By trialling them first on a small scale, we can avoid too much money being put into something that is not effective in the community.
Our new innovation team are always researching the main problems faced by the community in Chikolongo and investigating new ways to solve these problems and improve their lives.
What We Have Achieved:
Free School Meals Programme: October 2015- April 2016.
In response to the flooding experienced by Malawi in 2015, The Mlambe Project decided to set up a Free School Meals Programme to cover the main hunger period enabling the children to continue their education.
We provided all of the ingredients and equipment to cook ‘phala’: a Malawian porridge meal. Women from the ‘Mothers Group’ in the community agreed to cook the meals as volunteers.
The project was initially a huge success, with each child at Mlambe School receiving a daily bowl of porridge. An important part of the innovation process is admitting things that haven’t worked, and learning from these experiences…
Towards the end of the agreed period, the women said they were no longer happy to work as volunteers and that they wanted to be paid. We were unable to afford this and so the project had to finish slightly early.
Overall the project was successful in what it aimed to achieve. We learnt that we needed to improve our overall community engagement, and our stakeholder engagement within each project if people are going to be willing to work for free.