Serving the most vulnerable      in rural Malawi

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Winter Report 2015

including October-November trip

Community - Reforestation

Deforestation is a major challenge that hangs over Malawi, as trees provide the fuel for cooking, heating water for hygiene, and burning bricks for robust buildings.This natural resource is running out, and charcoal burning, though illegal, has decimated forests of indigenous hard-wood trees, leaving the land without protection from flooding, and soil erosion. The Malawian Government has deemed deforestation “an unsolvable problem”.


For several years we’ve considered the challenge of tree loss, so this year a Reforestation Programme has begun.

In three phases—our first  priority was to empower our staff’s families to become fuel-sufficient, then local villages, and finally plant trees on the mountain foothills for free firewood. Meetings with the Mount Mulanje Conservation Trust & Forestry Department resulted in gaining valuable information, and tree seeds/planting tubes.

We’re also promoting clay stoves, burning less wood.

Reforestation Programme


We arranged a 2-day course for 60 key local people in our Training Hall, sharing about global warming/climate change, the wider effect trees have on the environment, as well as practical planting & tree management.

We gave each participant tubes and tree seeds for their personal use.

There’s been one major challenge—the popular blue gum tree, a variety of eucalyptus that is widely used for firewood and building, has developed a new disease that will probably wipe it out—”red gum lerp psyllid”. We hope mtangatanga will take its place

Our research led us to 4 trees:-

Mtangatanga for firewood— though slower growing than blue gum, it doesn’t strip the soil of nutrients like eucalyptus, so can be planted with crops. It also drops nitrates to help soil fertility.  

Moringa, of course, for high-value nutrition – leaves contain vits A&C, protein, calcium, potassium, iron.

Acacia can be coppiced for firewood.

Glycidia is brilliant for green manure

(improve soil quality = improved crop yield), and animal fodder.    

Next year we hope to add several varieties of fruit trees…..

The Village Tree Nurseries erected, seeds from all 4 tree-types were issued and tubes planted. Seed germination of the faster growing varieties has begun, with plans to harden off and plant out with the rains in January.

However, this will be a challenging project—the annual rains have not yet arrived in our area, despite optimistic expectations.

This causes major concerns for the maize harvest (increased hunger) and means the tree seedlings will need consistent irrigation—difficult for many in this protracted dry season.

1st phase:-

Tree Nurseries

We built a Tree Nursery on site, and financed 10 others in villages in the area, following the training course

Chigwirigwidi Village Tree Nursery

Our Tree Nursery on site