What we do

Temwa works in remote, rural areas of northern Malawi – where poverty and climate change are a daily reality. 

Our aim is to develop thriving, inclusive and self-reliant communities that are able to transform their own futures.

At the heart of everything we do is our commitment to community-led development: we empower communities to identify their own challenges and solutions. Working together with the people we support, our interlinked projects help break the poverty cycle and create lasting, sustainable change for the future.

Agriculture and forestry

Nine in ten people in Nkhata Bay North are farmers, and almost 60% of the population live on just over 50p a day. They depend on the land and local forests for survival. But poverty is forcing them to use these resources unsustainably – making the same problems worse. 

In the last 20 years, a quarter of the forest in Nkhata Bay district has been destroyed. At the same time, climate change has led to increased droughts and floods. The extreme weather and degrading land make it difficult for farming communities to make a living to feed and support their families.

Building climate-resilient livelihoods

Temwa works with the disadvantaged farming communities in Nkhata Bay North to build sustainable livelihoods that give families income and food, while protecting the local environment. 

We train farmers in sustainable farming methods that help them adapt to the changing climate. We provide business training and support to farmer groups which can then flourish into forest-friendly community enterprises. 

Temwa Carbon Balance

The Temwa Carbon Balance scheme offers organisations and individuals an opportunity to balance their CO2 emissions. We do this through community tree planting, sustainable farming and community-led management of local natural resources. You can read more here

Read more about Temwa’s achievements in Agriculture and Forestry in the 2020 Agriculture and Forestry Report.

Health

In Nkhata Bay North, 16% of the population is HIV-positive – this means that nearly every household is affected by HIV or AIDS in some way.

The area is so remote that it’s extremely difficult for people to access healthcare facilities or receive health education. As a result, many people who are HIV-positive struggle to get the support and treatment they need. Additionally, there remains a stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS, which leads to people avoiding being tested and sometimes not taking medicine.

Our health programme works to address the devastating effects of HIV and AIDS through two projects: Mobile Voluntary Counselling and Testing, and Straight Talking. We often run these in conjunction with other community engagement activities, such as interactive theatre and awareness campaigns run by our voluntary Peer Educators, who are located around the district.

Mobile Voluntary Counselling and Testing

Our Mobile Voluntary Counselling and Testing (MVCT) project helps to create behavioural change by raising awareness of the importance of regular testing, and empowering people to seek help and reduce the spread of HIV.

There are only four health centres in the area, so people have to walk for up to nine hours to get to their nearest services. Our mobile clinics take HIV testing to places which are beyond the reach of regular health services. This increases awareness of and information about HIV and AIDS, as well as enabling people to get tested and therefore treated.

Straight Talking

The Straight Talking project combines two activities: AIDS Action Clubs, and HIV Support Groups. Together, these initiatives raise awareness of HIV and AIDS, and support those who are HIV-positive to live full and healthy lives.

AIDS Action Clubs

We’ve established an AIDS Action Club (AAC) in each of the 40 schools in Nkhata Bay North. These clubs raise awareness of and prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, bringing together pupils to learn and share information through singing, poetry and interactive drama.

HIV Support Groups

We run eight HIV Support Groups for adults, and four Teen Clubs for HIV-positive young people aged between 15 and 25. These groups meet regularly and provide a space where people can come together to support each other and work to combat the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. Group facilitators provide advice on good nutrition and how to take medication correctly, as well as information on how to live positively with HIV.

Read more about Temwa’s Health programme in our 2020 Annual Health Report

Education

Literacy rates in Malawi are very low: only around two in three adults, and one in five 5-9 year olds, are able to read and write.

This affects people’s future education and employment opportunities, making it harder to break out of poverty.

Early Grade Literacy

To raise the level of education in Nkhata Bay North, our Early Grade Literacy project develops primary school children’s reading and writing skills. We do this through a range of activities, including after school literacy clubs, spelling competitions between schools, and community literacy fairs.

Usisya community library

The community library in the village of Usisya, which we built in 2007, continues to provide the broader community with access to books, educational materials and national newspapers.

Nick Webber Trust secondary school bursaries

Whilst primary school in Malawi is free, secondary school is not, meaning that only 25% of children go on to receive a secondary education. Through our Nick Webber Trust bursaries, we enable secondary school age children to continue their education. The bursaries are given to gifted students from the most vulnerable families who aren’t able to afford school fees.

In the 2016/17 school year, we’re supporting 31 students with school fees, writing materials, transport, uniforms and pocket money.

Read more about Temwa’s Education programmes in the 2020 Annual Education Report

Read more about Temwa’s Bursary Programme in our 2021 Secondary Bursary Scheme Evaluation Report April

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