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.

Read about the positive impacts Temwa is having in the communities where we work, in our latest impact report

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.

Strengthening Resilience For Vulnerable Households (SRVH) Project

Temwa is supporting 5 new beekeeping and 5 new livestock-rearing cooperatives to increase their climate resilience. By strengthening their livelihoods and increasing income generation, the groups will be better able to recover after extreme weather events.

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. 

Read about our Farming Futures project in our latest report here.

Read about our Farmer Field School project in our latest report here.

Restoring Forests 

Our Restoring Forests project works with remote, disadvantaged communities to plant trees, while also strengthening local governance and forest stewardship, and promoting forest-friendly livelihoods. It is complemented by Temwa’s Carbon Balance scheme, which carries out reforestation and local governance work in villages in Nkhata Bay North. 

Read more about this project in our latest report here.

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 livelihoods and community-led stewardship of local natural resources.

You can read more on our latest progress here and balance your carbon here.

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 eight 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 lost to easily preventable diseases.

Access to clean water, hygiene education and better sanitation

Temwa’s WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) project provides simple ceramic water filters to protect people from waterborne diseases. Families pay a contribution towards the filters, which can then be reinvested in other community health initiatives. Alongside this we also deliver hygiene education and build demonstration latrines within each community we support so that families can replicate in their own homes.

Read more about this project in our latest report here.

Strengthening Community Run HIV Services

Following the success of our ‘provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling’ project at 5 local health centres in Nkhata Bay north over the last few years (which means that everyone visiting a clinic is now offered a HIV test),  Temwa is now extending the project into the community itself.  We will be supporting  regular outreach clinics in remote and ‘at-risk’ communities to enable community members to access vital health services and HIV testing. We also provide contact tracing and offer counselling and support to those testing positive which will help reduce the spread of the disease.

Take a look at our most recent progress report here. 

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 lives and employment opportunities, making it harder to break out of poverty.

Early Childhood Education 

Temwa’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) project is supporting communities to set up and run community-run preschools. By providing access to well-managed, properly resourced preschools, children will be better prepared for primary school and more likely to complete their early education.

Read more on our ECD project in our latest report here.

Community literacy

Temwa’s Community Literacy project, which ran from 2020-2023, improved reading and writing skills of primary-aged children through weekly after-school Reading Camps. Temwa also continues to support the running of the Usisya Community Library so that the wider community has access to books, educational materials and a quiet place to learn.

Read more on our literacy project in our latest education report here

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 annually to gifted students from the most vulnerable families who aren’t able to afford school fees. 

Read more on our bursary project in our latest report here.

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 built a girls’ hostel at one local secondary school, and run Village Reading Groups for young women.

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