2020 A Year in Review…

Thank you for supporting Temwa in 2020 through our ‘We Can’t Leave Campaign’ and helping secure the future of the charity

The impact of COVID-19 in 2020

2020 has been a year like no other as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt worldwide. Temwa, like so many other charities, was not able to avoid the impact as we saw income drop, events cancelled, and some programmes in Malawi put on hold to protect our community members. Working from home became the new normal and online meetings through Zoom and Skype became an integral part of our working lives. It’s been quite a year!

Despite all this, and with your support, the Temwa team both here in the UK and in Malawi carried on with as much passion and determination as ever. And as the year came to an end, we are  still here and stable – despite the many challenges we have faced. So THANK YOU for all your support and commitment to Temwa over the last year – it really does mean so much to our communities.2020inreviewThe spread of COVID-19 in Malawi

In March 2020, for the first time, Nkhata Bay North’s remoteness was considered a blessing rather than a curse because it meant that the COVID-19 virus was slow to reach the region. However, inevitably in May, the first few cases were identified and isolation once again became a threat to communities. Limited internet access, lack of communication from the government, and other threats to people’s livelihoods meant that scepticism and misinformation about COVID-19 were – and continue to be – widespread. 

In the summer, a senior local leader who was deeply respected within the community sadly passed away from the virus. This drove home the seriousness of the threat posed by the virus. There was a lack of action from the government and mistrust towards the little guidance it did provide. 

The wider impacts of COVID-19 have also been as severe as the virus itself in Nkhata Bay North. Most families depend on small-scale businesses or hand-to-mouth ‘piece work’ for income and many struggled to feed their families because local markets were closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

This is why the continued survival and support by Temwa was so critical. With limited governmental support and other charities closing down, the communities had no one else to turn to. 2020inreviewHow your donations helped in 2020

Despite the disruption that  COVID-19 caused to Temwa’s work and income both here in the UK and Malawi, your support helped us get through one of the biggest threats Temwa has faced since its creation over 17 years ago. The We Can’t Leave campaign was our call for help – and you responded with your love, support and donations for which we are hugely grateful.

In consultation with local communities, your donations contributed towards an urgently needed response to the COVID-19 crisis, adapted as the situation evolved. This included: 

  • Training staff at the five local health centres and providing PPE including masks, hand sanitiser, aprons, gloves and infrared thermometers. 
  • Making and distributing 2,492 reusable masks (through the provision of materials and sewing machines), and setting up 38 hand-washing stations, supplied with 1,600 bars of soap, for clinics and community hubs such as schools, churches and shops.
  • Running socially-distanced COVID-19 awareness campaigns to counter misinformation, directly reaching 739 people in remote communities, and distributing 2,000 local-language information leaflets.
  • Producing 8 interactive COVID-19 radio talk shows and awareness jingles that have been running on the local radio stations for the past 240 days to reach the wider community. 
  • Supporting 15 Farmer Associations and Community Enterprises that are specialised in baking, beekeeping and the production of crops and livestock. The diversification of household income sources through these 15 groups has made the families of 180 member farmers more resilient to economic and climatic shocks. It has also helped ensure that 1,080 people in the benefiting families have enough to eat.

Your support has helped improve livelihoods of vulnerable rural families, increase knowledge of COVID-19, prevent its transmission and protect healthcare workers and communities in Nkhata Bay North. Not only this, after looking at local clinic data, our campaign that encouraged increased handwashing has also resulted in a reduction in the spread of other diseases. Community members have thanked Temwa for helping to bust myths and rumours, as misinformation about COVID-19 has spread. They are incredibly grateful for the support they were given during such a challenging time. 

Your support through the campaign also supported us at an organisational level both here in the UK and in Malawi so that Temwa is able to continue our life-changing work.

So THANK YOU from us all for your support in 2020. 

What does 2021 look like in Nkhata Bay North…

In the last few weeks, like in many places worldwide, rates have been rising once again in Malawi. To support Temwa’s continued COVID-19 response and projects overseas you can still donate here. 

We’ve secured funding for our agriculture and forestry programme so we can continue working with the farmer groups building resilient livelihoods and lifting people out of poverty. Crops have been planted in the fields for the new growing season, so things are looking positive. We still have a long way to go before a complete sense of normality can return, but with your continued support, the future is looking hopeful.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting updates on what’s happening in Malawi with stories directly from our communities, so please keep in touch on social media, subscribe to our monthly newsletters, or get in touch at [email protected] if you want to know more or find out how to help. In 2021, why not support our work and take on a virtual challenge to climb the height of Mount Kilimanjaro from your own home.  Have fun and join together with Temwa’s Climb for Community Challenge!

Sign up to Climb for Community!

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