It’s been a while since we’ve published a post but don’t let that mislead you, we’ve been super busy! We have a whole string of updates on the horizon but I will start with what’s happening on the ground right now.
Our project team in Malawi – comprising of our very own Jones Ntaukira (Empower Malawi), Grivin Kili (BEED) and Lieza du Preez (Permaculture consultant) are in Zatuba Village as we speak! They will be focusing on three main goals.
1. Pilot Community Bank
BEED successfully completed their extensive business development workshop with Zatuba Village in June. Up to 40 entrepreneurs took park in this 9 day program which ended with the development of detailed business plans for their proposed enteprises. 23 participants graduated with “Certificates of Attendance” while 9 entrepreneurs were awarded “Certificates in SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) Management.”
These 9 entrepeneurs will form the core team for our 3 month community bank pilot. Why a community bank? The community identified the need for access to capital and we all agreed that a self-run financial system would enable the Zatuba Village and surrounding communities to be truly self reliant. The 9 entrepreneurs have proposed a range of businesses (e.g. dairy, poultry, groceries, maize) and were selected based on their the strength of their businesses plans and their social/environmental impact. There is a blend of individual and group enterprises.
BEED is currently facilitating the creation of a community bank account to be managed by the Village Development Committee (VDC) which will also act as the “Loans Committee” in this 3 month pilot. Empower will invest up to $AUD 4,000 into a revolving fund that will be supervised by BEED. All recovered funds from the Solar Lantern project will be directed to this fund as well.
2 week loan turnarounds are expected and there will be no interest charged during this pilot. BEED’s team will be visiting every 3 weeks to conduct pit stops to evaluate the health of the fund and the businesses being supported. We end the pilot in late October and expect to make a collective decision with regards to whether a full-fledged community bank is a viable and desirable option for Zatuba Village.
We are really excited as access to finance is one of our key pillars as an organisation. I can’t wait to see how things unfold as I have great faith in the community’s ability and determination. I long to see the fruits of their collective labour in January!
2. Permaculture Design in Kapita Primary School
Our permaculture consultant Lieza du Preez will be conducting a 5 day Permaculture Awareness program at Kapita Primary School. While the focus is on children being empowered to design a more sustainable and beautiful school, adults will take part as well. Participants will learn about a range of topics such as sustainable design, water harvesting, nurturing soil and plants (particularly medicinal plants). The key deliverable is for the school children to develop an action plan across 2 rainy seasons that will be supervised by Lieza and her team by means of check-ins every 2-3 months. We can’t wait to see the plan the children draw up to make their school more sustainable!
So….plenty happening! Stay tuned for our team’s update within the next 2 weeks 🙂
Over and Out,