We are The Mlambe Project, a charity aiming to increase access to quality education in rural Malawi. We do this by supporting local communities to build school classrooms and infrastructure.
The Mlambe Project is currently partnered with two local communities, who we support in two ways: We provide resources to increase the quality of education at their schools and create sustainable local employment and skill development. We are a small, progressive and mobile charity, dedicated to supporting communities in ways in which we can have a positive impact.
Back in 2012, a Physics student from the University of Manchester – Jamie Proctor – went to Malawi with the vision of starting a project…
Jamie was introduced to The Mlambe School in the small village of Chikolongo. The school was made up of an amazing community of welcoming children and teachers. However, the school itself was not in the best state. With just one government school block and most lessons being taught outside under trees, it was clear that The Mlambe School could be a perfect place to start an innovative educational project. There was full support from the community; and so The Mlambe Project was born.
Jamie happened upon Earthbag building whilst trying to find a cost-efficient and more sustainable method of building than the traditional brick method. The technique had been used widely across the world, but not yet utilised in Malawi.
A year later, the first Earthbag building was constructed at The Mlambe School by a team from Chikolongo and volunteers from the UK. The Mlambe Project has now grown immensely, transforming into a charity that continually provides support to the community and the school, as well as promoting the highly effective method of Earthbag building across Malawi.
This has led to the successful development of the Mlambe Project Limited, a social enterprise that is led by the trained Malawians who build school blocks, toilets and teachers houses in Malawi and they have since gone on to expand their work into neighbouring schools as well as other building projects country-wide.
Since we began working with the community in Balaka, we have been able to branch into other projects in the community, which include a stove building project to support local people to reduce their firewood usage, developing an infant feeding programme in the nursery with the help of Macrami for Mlambe, our fundraising sister charity in Australia.
The first earthbag building in Malawi
Earthbag construction is an inexpensive building method using mostly local soil to create structures which are both strong and can be quickly built.
The Mlambe Project is responsible for creating the first earthbag in Malawi.
The Mlambe Project only became what it is today because of the relationship that was made with Chikolongo village, the home of Mlambe School. By fostering this relationship with the local community members, leaders and committees we were able to ensure that every building that was made, or new idea that was explored started with what the community wanted.
This approach is essential in order to maximize our impact within the communities that we work, but also to ensure that we are being respectful of local customs, as in Malawi it is crucial to work alongside local leadership such as chiefs and the involvement of chiefs is required in order to ensure community participation and ownership of any buildings.
In order to do this we spent time getting to know the local leaders, school head teacher and committee members. Moving forward, we will strive to build this same relationship wherever we go as it is essential for the success of any project. For all of our building, we have an amazing team from Chikolongo which is led by Malawians whom we have trained from scratch.
We ensure that all of our resources are largely spent in Malawi with very little being spent on UK Administration, thanks to our volunteers. We have grown as a charity into an entirely volunteer led operation in the UK , led by our CEO Ed Forrest.
Our team is strengthened by our engineers and architects in our UK team to advise our team building in Malawi.
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Becoming a donor of The Mlambe Project helps you maximise impact of your donations on the lives of the people we help in Malawi. Thank you, your donation means the world to us