Since 2012, we have seen astounding organic growth that has made us hopeful that the work we do is important. That it’s needed. Our team has successfully provided access to education for the children and community of Chikolongo. We have explored partnerships in Lilongwe, and more recently extended our services to two other villages nearby.
We’re very proud of the work we have done, and in 2018 it was decided that we will increase it in scale. Over the past year and a half, we have been exploring how best to make the transition from organic growth, to a more structured approach.
However, knowing what success looks like is hard. Without recognising what it could be, there is no way to get there. Two weeks ago, our team came together to discuss and visualise what our core mission in Malawi will look like going forward. What ‘success’, eventually, will look like for us collectively.
What we did
We drew! Some better than others (most will agree that it’s not fair to pitch architects against regular folk in that sort of situation). We drew all sorts of things, from schools to trees – but our main goal was to draw what we wanted to see in terms of progress eventually.
Once we all made it visually clear what we were hopeful to achieve, we pulled key insights from these drawings. What we uncovered, were a few consistent goals that everyone wanted to work towards. These included the below;
- Clear learning outcomes for communities and children in Malawi, such as teacher training programmes and access to university education
- High quality school infrastructure
- Eventual local community management of all infrastructure and programmes
- Partnerships for sustainability
- Continuous development of sustainable solutions
- Excellence across a large scale
How do we proceed from here?
After this strategy session, we will run two more sessions across the next few weeks. Now that we have figured out what success looks like for The Mlambe Project, the next two sessions will establish how it will be measured, and the steps that we will need to take to get there.
Once this has been decided, we can start to from a 5-year strategy. Whist this journey will inevitably evolve in accordance to changeable environments, it will still provide a clear indication of our long-term values. This in turn, will provide a framework for decision making that will keep our conversations and actions focussed on the essential.
Our first session was a successful starting point for this. We managed to uncover and summarise our key goals into one sentence, which will guide our next two sessions and our long-term strategy going forward.
‘To establish partnerships that deliver excellent learning outcomes at scale through equitable access to school infrastructure – built by empowered communities and protecting the environment’
We believe this is a clear and achievable goal, that with the right partnerships and direction, we can make a reality.