It’s been a while since I last blogged to give you an update from the field.
The Kapita Community finishing their Earthship Community Centre
The people of Kapita are still working on their Community Centre, 3 years since it was started. In August 2016, Empower Malawi supported the people of Kapita to complete the whole outer structure of the Earthship that gives it its flower petal shape. What’s remaining is just to finish the walls (which will built using earth bricks instead of bottles) , plastering and the flooring of the rooms. Come December 2016, the Kapita Earthship, the second Earthship in Africa must be finished. At the moment, with 4 rooms completely finished already, the Kapita Earthship is being used as a Nursery School (early childhood development center) and a place for meetings. Two large water tanks are already installed to collect rain water and supply water to the centre’s toilets.
Timbiri Community SACCO
The financial cooperative in Mpamba, Timbiri Community Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) has been growing steadily, going from strength to strength. Since January, the membership of the cooperative has increased from 37 to 212 members comprising of 117 men (55%) and 95 women (45%). This is very exciting and the SACCO is on its way to beating the 50:50 membership with respect to gender by 2017. The total assets for the cooperative have reached MWK3.5 million (approximately US$5000) after just 6 months. Come mid to end September, Timbiri Community SACCO should be dispersing its first loans to interested qualifying members. As a surety, all loans shall be insured to guarantee security for the cooperative. I hope that in future updates, we will highlight a few of the loan beneficiaries to see how the loans are helping them and their families.
This project has been a success story since its launch in January this year. With 2 terms of school now gone by, the nursery school has welcomed a total of 70 children across the period. Empower Malawi is supporting the Nursery school with funding from Empower Projects for 1 academic year before the school is left in the hands of the community to run and support it. Currently Empower pays 3 teachers at the school, buys all learning and teaching materials and provides ingridients for kids to have a healthy breakfast every morning. Meanwhile the school has put in place ways to generate income and save for use when Empower leaves in December 2016. For example, to enroll, a parent is supposed to pay MK500 per month per child. The school saves this money with Kapita Community Savings and Investment Cooperative, thereby earning interest on their savings. Once Empower leaves, it is our hope that the committee shall use these funds and others to sustainably run the school. Plans are also underway for the nursery school to have land where parents and teachers can grow food to contribute towards the breakfast programme as well as for sale as an income generating activity. This plan has already been approved by the school committee and the land has been allocated by Chiefs.
Kapita Primary School
Our support of Kapita Primary School stretches back to 2011. The school has an enrolment of over 450 pupils and has succesfully overcome a number of challenges since we started working together, Through the adoption of permaculture practices, the school is consistently adding to their 4 acre food garden, growing a range of fruits and vegetables towards a school feeding program. Complementing these efforts, we have assisted the primary school in gaining access to solar electreicity, a rainwater harvesting system and 5 eco-sanitation toilets to address chronic sanitation issues. Most recently, we asssisted the school’s efforts to start a breakfast program by contributing towards the construction of a school kitchen with energy efficient stoves. Hand on heart, we can all say that Kapita Primary School has undergone a lot of positive change over the last 4 years. Primarily on the back of inspiring commitment from the principal Mbasi Mbasi, fellow teachers, students and parents.
A COMSIP (Community Savings and Investment Promotion Programme), is a smaller and less regulated financial cooperative as opposed to a SACCO (Savings and Credit Cooperative) which is larger and is highly regulated by the Central Bank. A COMSIP does not require minimum capital where as a SACCO has. The Kapita COMSIP which Empower supported in Mzimba south east has been a success story. With a membership of 65 people, the Kapita COMSIP has already issued loans amounting to MK2.5million in the past 8 months. These loans have been recovered and some are still repaying their loans. Most of the loans given by the Kapita COMSIP are agriculture loans which are seasonal hence there are times when there are no loans issued at all.
So that’s a snapshot from the field in Malawi! Thanks for your continued support, I look forward to sharing more stories of impact in the weeks to come.
Over and Out,