Archive for ‘General’


Sad Passing of Ranger Geoffrey Umali

April 2nd, 2019

We got some very sad news here at the end of March with the passing of Geoffrey Umali, a ranger with Thuma Forest Reserve and one of Lynn Clifford’s key colleagues. He’d been in a serious car accident just a couple of weeks earlier and unfortunately, the prognosis had not been good. We send Geoffrey’s family, friends, Lynn and his fellow rangers our heartfelt condolences: he’d been a great help and support for our work in Malawi too. RIP.

Geoffrey Umali funeral

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Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change

March 4th, 2019

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Statement for International Women’s Day
by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women

At a time when innovation is dominant, shaping and changing the way people live in every part of the world, we have to be intentional about its use to positively impact the lives of women and girls. That means making sure they are not only consumers of innovation, but take their place as innovators. With their engagement, both design and execution of solutions can address the unique needs of women and girls, from the creation of decent work to delivery of products, services and infrastructure for women in all walks of life. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” puts innovation at the centre of efforts to reflect the needs and viewpoints of women and girls and to resolve barriers to public services and opportunities.

Remoteness need no longer be an exclusion issue when mobile money technology and digital payments can deliver social benefits to even the most remote households. Lack of roads need not prevent life-saving medication from reaching patients, with smart inventions like 15-year old Nigerian Eno Ekanem’s drone to make drops to rural areas, controlled by SMS messaging.

Lack of electric light did not stop Midwife Lorina Karway from delivering babies at night in remote parts of Liberia; she improvised using her phone light. Now however, simple, low-cost solar lamps made by women have brought a creative, sustainable solution to Lorina, and to multiple health centres and individual homes that previously lacked access to energy infrastructure. This important invention that jumpstarts access to modern renewable energy can be further developed to be even easier to handle and use.

Women’s fresh, relevant thinking also brings transformative change to large-scale infrastructure, both virtual and physical. Our Buy from Women Enterprise Platform uses mobile technology to connect women farmers and cooperatives to information, finance and markets, optimizing the supply chain for women. The large ‘Senergy’ solar-power project in Dakar, Senegal drew on women’s views in development, bringing shared benefits such as upgrades to the local school, the funding of a microcredit association to promote women’s businesses in the local area, and premises for a maternity unit. Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni’s award-winning vision for the redevelopment of the razed district of Baba Amr, Homs, includes ways to restore cooperation, social cohesion, and a sense of identity after the devastation of war.

Innovation and technology reflect their designers and makers. Knowing that algorithms increasingly determine selection and response, we need to react to the growing evidence that women have been routinely left out of the data on which decisions are made. “Big data’ is only a reliable support for decision-making if it draws on a pool of unbiased information.

Groups that are under-represented and marginalized based on their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or socio-economic status also need to have the opportunity to create and to provide feedback on what is created by others. This might be urban planning that designs for commuter or pedestrian safety with simple measures like better lighting and walkways that reflect crowdsourced data on hotspot attack or harassment zones. Or it could be toilet constructions that support women’s period management needs. Or the use of biometrics as ID to replace formal registration documents that many women may not have or control. In any of these scenarios, innovation and technology with a gender perspective are crucial to remove barriers and accelerate progress for gender equality.

Our Global Innovation Coalition for Change brings representatives from the private sector, academia, and non-profit institutions to develop the innovation market so as to work better for women and to accelerate the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Women and girls must have opportunities to contribute to making real change, and help shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact their lives. As we have seen from recent marches for climate action in Europe and elsewhere—they are ready to do so.

When we put the focus on those who are least heard, and least visible—whether individuals, or those hundreds of millions of informal sector workers who currently have little or no presence in official planning, or financial protection that will sustain them in ill-heath, child care or older age—we are tackling some of the deepest-reaching social problems and can make the progress we want to see.

Released: Monday, March 4, 2019

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Great Introduction to Malawi from Geography Now

February 27th, 2019

Here’s the quick, positive introduction to this wonderful country from Geography Now.

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The Irish woman leading the fight against Elephant Poaching

February 7th, 2019

Lynn Clifford and WAG Scouts

Lynn Clifford from North Dublin is Field Manager with Wildlife Action Group Malawi, overseeing 2 two major projects to preserve wildlife and to prevent poaching of elephants. We partner WAG on a couple of projects, but this is Lynn’s incredibly challenging day to day to day job. WAG is a grassroots NGO co-managing governmental protected forest reserves in Central Malawi

Thuma and Dedza-Salima Forest Reserves contain significant numbers of the remaining large mammals of Malawi, including several key populations identified by the IUCN. These are among the few protected areas in Malawi which give still home to elephant and buffalo. Other (larger) game include greater kudu, bushbuck, baboon, vervet monkey, bush baby, leopard, cerval, spotted hyena, genets, African civet, warthog, bush pig, porcupine as well as a number of smaller antelopes like Sharpe’s grysbok, common duiker and klipspringer. But Thuma F.R. is not only of interest for these mammals. There is a variety of trees and plants, birds, insects, and other animals which make the two reserves an important biodiversity hotspot in Malawi.

Read all about the fantastic, life-changing work being led by this extraordinary Irish woman here.

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Gender-Based Violence and Female Empowerment in Malawi

January 31st, 2019

“Unfortunately, gender-based violence remains a serious development challenge in Malawi. Women and girls in Malawi fare worse than their male counterparts on socio-economic indicators including literacy, secondary and tertiary education enrolment and completion, wage equality, political participation, and literacy. Despite their critical role in food production for their households, Malawian women have little control over land, even when it is their own.” - USAID

This is one of the key drivers for our mission, to give children the skills to grow themselves, to help help women feed themselves and their families, and to facilitate access to land. And it’s why The Tuesday Trust strongly believes in supporting girls staying longer in education.

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How to Change the Story for Girls

January 28th, 2019

Despite heroines like Chief Theresa Kachindamoto, too many young girls, many only 12 or 13 years old find themselves being “married” off and are quickly pregnant. Malawi has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. It’s starting to change. The govt. is intervening, but it needs to be addressed at village level. Girls need to feel protected, nurtured and empowered as early as possible. So it was wonderful to find this pupil poster in one of the schools we support for our TT growing project, Namachete. Here’s a powerful manifesto to start changing that story.

Poster at Namachete school

Rates of Child Marriage Malawi

See more at Girls Not Brides.

Female Chief Terminates 850 Child Marriages

January 24th, 2019

This is great story of change, hope and female empowerment in Malawi from Healthy-Holistic-Living.com

Theresa Kachindamoto
Female Chief Terminates 850 Child Marriages In Malawi And Sends Girls Back To School
by Emilyn Gil

Like most young girls, I spent many hours of my childhood daydreaming about marriage. I imagined the delicate roses my husband would buy to propose to me with, the layers upon layers of white silk and lace for my wedding dress, and let’s not forget the magnificent castle where it would all take place, of course.

Little did I know that even while I was dreaming up my fairy tale of a wedding, across the world in Malawi, girls my same age were being sent away by their parents to be married and have families of their own.

A Girl’s Role In Malawi Tradition

Malawi, a small country located in the southeast region of Africa, is considered one of the poorest places in the world. And as is common in underdeveloped and rural areas, child marriages occur every day. In 2012 it was discovered that over half of the girls in Malawi were married before 18 years of age.

Although a law was passed in 2015 forbidding marriage before the age of 18, these marriages were still possible with parental consent. And due to extreme poverty, parents would eagerly give their consent to send girls off to marriage in order to ease the financial burden on their own home.

It was also common practice to send girls to sexual initiation camps just after starting their first period. These camps were created to teach girls their “duties” as a wife and how to sexually please a man. The camp teachers would usually encourage girls to have sex, often resulting in unwanted pregnancies and HIV infections.

Theresa Kachindamoto Creating Change

Theresa Kachindamoto, a senior chief in the Dedza district of Malawi, became absolutely outraged at constantly seeing 12-year-old girls with teenage husbands and a baby on their hips. Only a short time after being called to the role of chief, Kachindamoto began to take action.

She met with 50 of her sub-chiefs and had them sign an agreement to end child marriage in all areas under her authority. Kachindamoto was determined. She told the chiefs, “Whether you like it or not, I want these marriages to be terminated.” She even fired four male chiefs after learning that they were still allowing child marriages in their areas.

During her time as chief, Kachindamoto has annulled 850 child marriages and reports that all of these girls have gone back to school. Along with this stunning accomplishment, Kachindamoto has also banned the practice of sexual initiation camps.

The Response, And Her Resilience

In Malawi, where tradition runs deep, the response to Kochindamoto’s campaign for change was not always pleasant. When she first spoke out about these issues, many told her that she had no right to mess with tradition, and she even received death threats. But nothing seemed to slow Kachindamoto in the slightest. “I don’t care, I don’t mind,” she shares. “I’ve said, whatever, we can talk, but these girls will go back to school.”

Kachindamoto is so passionate in her desire for change, that she has even helped to fund many girls’ education whose parents were unable. “If they are educated,” she says, “they can be and have whatever they want.” Her resilience in the face of difficulty is inspiring.
Fight For The Future

Kachindamoto’s example is incredibly moving. “I want these girls to be educated because in the future they will take care of us,” she shared. Despite decades of tradition, and a mountain of challenges, she fought for what she saw was right and did all in her power to create a better future.

Female Chief Terminates 850 Child Marriages image

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Field trip “Back to Eden”

January 17th, 2019

We took the Patient Support Group from Ndi Moyo clinic on a day out to “Back to Eden”, an all-organic garden outside Salima. Wholly owned and run by Malawians, they had lots of valuable tips and advice to grow organically and make the best use of local resources. The land here is poor between the extremes of the climate and generations unable to care for the soil. At Eden, they’re growing mango, guava, lemons, rice, vegetables and a vast array of herbs.. turmeric, lemon grass, ginger, hibachis.

There were 12 of us rammed into the old Land Rover (health and safety rules not a big concern TBH)… lots of chat and fun. They were intrigued and fascinated. And we got a couple of fantastic recipes to make organic fertiliser using animal manure in 21 days and also to protect stored maize from weevils. That’s gold in these parts.

PSG field trip to Eden

PSG learning at Eden

Organic growing at Back to Eden garden

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New Year Party at Ndi Moyo

January 16th, 2019

New Year was celebrated late (at least by Western measure) at Ndi Moyo Palliative Care centre in Salima. People who are HIV+ are at a higher risk of all types of cancer. The great majority of patients suffering from it and other potentially terminal illnesses present at the clinic very late, often in severe pain. There is no government funding in Malawi for palliative care. National morphine supplies are erratic, despite financial provision from the Global Fund. Ndi Moyo was founded by Lucy Finch as a response to this very great unmet need for palliative care. Her approach is holistic in the true sense of the word, embracing medicine, wellbeing, natural healing and plain old-fashioned generosity of spirit. The NY party for patients reflects this wonderful humanitarian approach, and is one the reasons we provide some small support to help. It was great to be here for it and needless to say - this is Malawi - it wasn’t long before the chairs were pushed back and the dancing started: the craic was mighty.

NY get-together at Ndi Moyo

Lucy and Nurse Nesta

Chicken on the grill
Nsima prep

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Boots on the Ground

January 10th, 2019

Small things can make a big difference in Malawi. Like new work boots for some Tuesday Trust gardeners who help the PSG at Ndi Moyo. But even here, the underlying difficulties and challenges faced by the locals, for whom food shortages are a way of life, is hinted at by their boot sizes, with two of the gardeners just taking 7s. Still the smiles tell a story: every little helps.

Gardeners with new work boots

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