Our most recent donation as a member of 1% for the Planet was to the charity Temwa.
Temwa works in one of the world’s poorest countries, in the Nkhata Bay North district of Malawi. Founded in 2003 by Jo Hook and Sophie Elson who are both from Bristol, the charity’s roots are closer to home, and their office is just across the city from our studio. When running a backpackers’ lodge in Usisya, a remote village in Malawi, their friend Lotti Nkhwazi died as a result of AIDS. Lotti had been supporting his sister, brother, and sister-in-law and 15 children who were all drastically impacted by his death. After their experience in Malawi, Jo and Sophie returned to the UK in 2000 to spend the next 3 years fundraising and researching how they could help Malawians like Lotti. They called the charity Temwa, which means the love within a community.
Their community-led approach develops self-sufficiency providing long term sustainable solutions to the problems locals face. Temwa has developed a ten year strategy in partnership with staff, trustees, community members, and local chiefs and government, and at the end of this strategy comes their exit plan. After setting up structures, training and opportunities with these communities, the locals should no longer need Temwa, but will continue to benefit from the initiatives they began.
‘Our mission is to develop self-sufficient communities by supporting projects in education, health, agriculture and forestry, and microfinance.’ Examples of their work include training villagers in the importance of good nutrition and sustainable farming, and promoting young children’s literacy skills and funding students through secondary school.
As our products are mostly paper based, and we aim to minimise our impact on the environment, we are particularly interested in tree planting and combating climate change. Deforestation in Malawi has caused a rise in extreme weather such as droughts and floods. One of Temwa’s projects is carbon balancing. This enables locals to plant trees and enforce forestry management to tackle deforestation and climate change. Tree planting improves soil quality for farming and helps provide resilience to climate shocks, which in turn prevents malnutrition.
To learn more about Temwa, and find out how you can balance your carbon through their tree planting initiative, please visit their website here.