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Friends of Malawi Association

Serving all who love and support Malawi

FOMA news

Attending Events

Category: Forthcoming Events

Anyone wishing to attend an event should contact the Hon Secretary for further details using the contact form on the Contact page. 

There is no charge to attend the events but we suggest that a donation of £10 (minimum) per head should be made to the Charitable Trust Fund to help fund our project activities in Malawi.

May 2023 – FOMA visits Joyful Motherhood project

Category: News

Two FOMA members, Jamie and Sophie, visited Malawi in May 2023 and were able to see one of the supported projects – Joyful Motherhood (Chimwemwe mu’bereki). Accompanied by Program Manager, Glory and Nurse, Verina, Sophie went on one of the site visits and heard how the organisation is the only one integrated with public health services that provide care to family/friends taking care of orphaned children in Malawi. They see approximately 250 children a month and, although the motorbike purchased with the FOMA grant was in for repairs, it has made accessing difficult to reach areas much easier.

Community Support Initiative (CSI)

Category: Community Support Initiative (CSI)

2021 Project Report

A grant of £900 to support the construction of a Community Crop Storage Facility in Mzgola, Luwinga, Mzuzu District.

Joy Simwaka from Community Support Initiative explained that CSI conducted a community survey and discovered that approximately 45% of all food is being wasted through inadequate post-harvest storage and lack of reliable markets. This wastage results in income loses for local farmers, spoilage of resources and insufficient food supplies. This project is set to change the situation and help farmers preserve his/her crops longer, keep the quality intact and thus sell more at higher price.

The project started with CSI providing 30 bags of cement to build with the bricks and sand the community contributed but the facility stalled at window level. The FOMA grant will help procure the remaining 28 bags of cement, 46 iron sheets, five door frames, six window frames and roofing nails.

Community Hope

Category: Community Hope

2021 Project Summary

A grant of £1000 to support the construction of a child care centre in Traditional Authority Nansomba, Chikwawa District.

Gift Ayami, Program Coordinator with Community Hope told us there is no nursery school in the area and as such children learn under the trees to access early childhood education. This prompted the communities to come together to mobilise resources for the construction of a child education centre. The community committed to making bricks and providing the labour needed for the building project; the FOMA grant will support the purchase of the other construction materials.

Child Legacy International

Category: Child Legacy International

2020 Project Summary

A grant of £1000 to support the purchase of materials to install an irrigation system for Macadamia Tree Farm in Lilongwe.

Gary Robertson, Operations Director with Child Legacy International (CSI), explained the project was to implement a prototypical drip irrigation for its 1950 Macadamia trees. In a collaborative approach, CSI provided 70% of the project funding, FOMA provided 28%, Working with Water pumps and Other Tools for Africa (WOTA) provided logistical and specialist support and the community contributed in the form of labour. The main aim of the project was to ensure all macadamia trees have efficient, less labour intensive and affordable irrigation and also for 10 farmer clubs (15 members each) to be trained in installation of irrigation systems.

Kachindamoto Community Development

Category: Kachindamoto Community Development

2020 Project Summary

A grant of £1000 to support the purchase of building materials to help the construction of a visitor shelter at the Kachindamoto Health Centre.

Abraham Kathako, working with Kachindamoto Community Development Organisation wrote to us to say, ‘on behalf of Traditional Authority Kachindamoto and the Kachindamoto Community in Dedza district, we would like to thank FOMA for the financial support for the construction of a guardian shelter. This shelter has been very important and has helped us in many ways especially children, the elderly and women to be able to access health services in a decent and protected manner especially during windy, rainy or very sunny seasons’.

The community worked together to provide bricks, sand and unskilled labour towards the construction of the shelter as well as contributing donations towards paying for transport for the construction materials to be delivered.

SIGHT2020 (Onani Eye Foundation)

Category: Projects SIGHT2020 (Onani Eye Foundation)

2020 Project Summary

A grant of £1000 to support the SIGHT2020 Cataract Surgery programme with Zomba Hospital.

Mr Andrew Feyi-Waboso, Consultant Opthalmologist, leading the team that will travel to Malawi said they will undertake 100 cataract eye surgeries in 5 days. Zomba Hospital is making their facilities available including the operating theatre, recovery room, equipment and support staff. They will also conduct the pre-surgery screening clinic and take part in training to increase specialist eye surgery nursing skills.

This project was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic but is planned to be underway soon – please check back for an update!

PRIDE Initiative

Category: PRIDE Initiative

2020 Project Summary

A grant of £1000 to support the renovation of the Kamalambo Primary School special needs classroom in Traditional Authority Jenda, Mzimba District.

Gloria Phiri, Executive Director of PRIDE Initiative said that disability does not mean inability, and as such this project seeks to unveil the potential that is hidden in special needs students by aiding their education. Children that are blind and deaf need to learn the basics of braille and sign language while still young in order to interact with fellow students, teachers and the community. The area concerned has more than 500 disabled children with most of them are kept at home due to unsafe learning environments and lack of items such as wheelchairs, crutches and blind canes. PRIDE Initiative engaged the local community through the Parent-Teacher Association and agreed to renovate the room so children should start attending classes. Pride Initiative has contributed £400; £50 was donated from the Tuck Shop run by the school, the community agreed to provide labour, sand and bricks and the remaining costs will be met by the FOMA grant.

We’re awaiting some photos of the project – please check back soon!

Starfish Malawi

Category: Projects Starfish

2021 Project Summary

A grant of £1000 to support the construction of a toilet block for at the special needs resource centre, Salima.

Mark Aldrich, Trusts Manger at Starfish Malawi described the aim of the Special Educational Needs Project as helping to enhance the welfare and education of children who have disabilities. These children often fail to achieve in mainstream education because the large class sizes in Malawian schools do not allow the teacher to assist disabled children as they need. The buildings themselves are not disability-friendly prevent access to teaching.

Peter Bell, Head of Fundraising at Starfish Malawi reported that the new latrines, funded by FOMA,
will be of a long drop construction with two cubicles for boys and two for girls. Crucially however the toilets will have disabled access and wider doors for wheelchairs. The new toilets are part of a larger construction project at the Everland Special Educational Needs Resource Centre sponsored by the Michael Jackson Legacy Foundation.

Standing Voice

Category: Projects Standing Voice

2021 Project Summary

A grant of £1000 to support the purchase of ipads to enable the use of the CommCare system in the albino skin cancer prevention clinics.

Emily Spence, Programs Manager with Standing Voice explained that since 2016, Standing Voice has built an outreach programme of comprehensive dermatological healthcare for people with albinism in Malawi, which now has over 700 patients enrolled across 5 districts. In 2020, we began preparing to implement a new electronic data collection system (CommCare), to be used in our Skin Cancer Prevention Programme (SCPP). The new patient management system will facilitate data entry at our clinics and ultimately improve our quality of care by allowing us to monitor patients’ skin health over time, tailor our services to individual needs, and identify broad trends in patient data.

We are very grateful to the Friends of Malawi Association for supporting Standing Voice in the roll out of the new data collection system to better monitor health outcomes and ensure high-quality care for people with albinism for years to come.

Bob Kubwenza, Dermatology Officer with Standing Voice said “The introduction of the new database has made our job much simpler. Using the tablets is fast, so I was able to see many more patients at the clinic compared with when we were using paper questionnaires. CommCare has helped ensure clinicians are very thorough when conducting full body examinations, by making sure we do not miss any body parts out. Patients are no longer complaining of long waiting times as the process is much faster for them, including the distribution of sun protective items.”

2020 Project Summary

A grant of £1150 to support the creation & distribution of skin care packages to people with albinism in Malawi.

Emily Spence, Program Manager with Standing Voice reported that the regulations imposed by the Malawian government in response to COVID-19 and the need to safeguard patients from the virus meant we were unable to deliver our skin cancer clinics and training programme as usual. Therefore an alternative means to providing support for the 531 registered patients began with distributing of emergency skin care packages including sunscreen, health information booklets and, where necessary, hygiene kits (masks, soap and sanitary products for women). 43 visits to health centres over 5 districts were conducted, limiting patient numbers to facilitate social distancing, and helping patients avoid public transport by holding clinics nearer their communities. Community dermatologists trained by Standing Voice undertook comprehensive clinical examinations on all patients, referring those in need of more advanced treatment.

We are very grateful to the Friends of Malawi Association for supporting Standing Voice to provide life-saving care to people with albinism during this difficult period.


Category: Stimulus for Transformative Development (STRADE)

2021 Project Summary

A grant of £875 to support an Irrigation Scheme through installation of a solar water pump for the Chambo Community, Mzimba District.

Masida Hastings Ziba, Director at STRADE, said that following the success of the previous project with FOMA (see below), the community agreed they would like to scale up the economic aspect of the farming by creating a Community Irrigation Scheme. A modern solar pump will allow growing of additional vegetables and crops like maize, beans and sweet potatoes to improve food security for over 500 households – approximately 2500 people.

Masida further reported a case study of ‘Esther’ a 35 year old farmer. In 2021, she harvested 1000 kg of maize having used organic manure and irrigation. She kept 400 kg to feed her family of 7 but was able to sell 600 kg, enabling her to meet basic needs such as paying school fees. She also made a total of MK60,000 from vegetable sales that enabled her to buy a bed, soap, sugar and other food to supplement her meals.

2020 Project Summary

A grant of £1000 to support the construction of two shallow wells with hand pumps in Madang’ombe Village, Chambo, Mzimba District.

Masida Hastings Ziba, Director at STRADE, said that in this area water is drawn from hand-dug small holes close to the homestead. People drinking this contaminated water makes them prone to waterborne disease and no organisation has attempted to address this problem. Therefore, STRADE, in its work with the community assisted by applying for a FOMA grant to construct shallow protected wells to improve the quality of water supply. The community assisted in the project by providing fired burnt bricks, river sand and quarry stone.