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, four in five households don’t have clean water for drinking and washing. 60% of families don’t have access to safe toilets. One in every six adults is also HIV-positive so nearly every household is affected by HIV or AIDS in some way. 

At the same time, the area is so remote that it’s difficult for people to access healthcare facilities or receive health education. Some communities are a nine-hour walk from the closest clinic. Many work and school days are therefore lost to easily preventable diseases.

Access to clean water and better sanitation 

Temwa provides simple ceramic water filters to protect people from waterborne diseases. Families pay a contribution towards the filters, which is reinvested in other community health initiatives. We also provide hygiene education and build demonstration toilets that families can replicate in their homes.

Stigma-free HIV support 

Temwa supports the implementation of provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling at local health centres. This approach means that everyone visiting a clinic is offered a HIV test which means people don’t have to ask to be tested. This helps reduce stigma and the spread of the disease.

Covid-19 response

There has been little governmental support in Nkhata Bay North to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Temwa has been providing PPE to local clinics and vulnerable community members. We also run radio and community awareness campaigns to protect communities and to tackle misinformation.

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 are able to read and write. Girls and women are often expected to take care of children and the household. This means that women have lower levels of education and only 3% have completed secondary school. Low education levels affect people’s future life and employment opportunities, making it harder to break out of poverty.

Community literacy

Temwa improves reading and writing skills of primary-aged children through weekly after-school Reading Camps. Temwa runs a community library in the town of Usisya, and is helping to establish libraries at local schools. These provide the wider community with access to books, educational materials and a quiet place to learn.

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 Temwa’s bursaries, we enable secondary school-aged children to continue with their education. The bursaries are awarded to gifted students annually from the most vulnerable families who aren’t able to afford school fees. 

Girls’ education

Almost equal numbers of girls and boys start primary school in Nkhata Bay North. But girls often drop out due to long distances, lack of safe places to stay, poor sanitation and menstruation. 

Temwa works with local governance to raise awareness of the importance of girls’ education. We have also built a girls’ hostel at one local secondary school, and are running Village Reading Groups for young women.

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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