It is well-known that poor nutrition in Malawi causes physical stunting – something like 46% of kids are affected this way. But bad nutrition also stunts the brain! So, we are developing a self-funding, self-sustaining feeding programme. Initially, we will work with the same schools as Tafika Sports Academy.
Each school will grow an area of crops – size depends on the school roll. For talking sake, let’s call it 5 hectares. They would have the assistance of the community to do this – and this is a key point.
2 hectares would be maize and soya, which would provide the base for the feeding programme. 1 hectare would be a cash crop (beans, soya, groundnut, etc) which would be sold; the income would be reserved for the following year’s inputs. And the final 2 hectares would also be a cash crop, which the school would sell to generate income for itself. They would have a free choice; maybe they would buy desks, perhaps school uniforms, or improvements to the buildings. It could be a combination of things and it may well be different each year.
Schools already work in clusters, often of 5. We would create something called “super-clusters” of perhaps 20 schools. They could each cause 3 workshops to be created; making desks, uniforms, sanitary pads. These would be self-employed units, so could undertake work outside the schools, if they wished.
The aim is to work up honey and fruit drying projects. The processing for these might be at Growing Skills Demonstration Farm, where size comes into the thinking. Much of the reason for some of these things not happening, or not happening efficiently, is economies of scale. If we coordinate for a large area, we can provide that scale.
The farm might also have a processing area for the cash crops grown by the schools, such as soya (which can be made into flour, oil, milk, and pieces).
To fund this, we are thinking of partnering with Scottish schools; we would develop a curriculum-friendly pack. The school might raise £1,000 as initial capital; we’d partner them with an appropriate school in Northern Malawi. This donation should be one-off, as the system is designed for self-sustainability.
Ultimately, this project could be rolled out to every school in Northern Malawi – possibly 1,000 schools! A huge project – but one that could make a big difference to the Nation!