A great way to support farmers, entrepreneurs and small businesses in Malawi is by buying Malawian products here in Scotland.
This supports the creation and sustainability of livelihoods for people right across the supply chain, from small holder farmers in rural Malawi to retailers in Scotland.
Here are some stories showing how buying a Malawian product here in Scotland is having a positive impact in Malawi!
Rare Tea Company
"I travel the world from China to Sri Lanka, across Japan and India to seek out the best leaves available anywhere. We work with Satemwa Estate – a third generation Scottish family – because they craft some of the best tea I have ever tried.”
A percentage of all sales from all Rare Tea goes to www.rarecharity.com, currently supporting tertiary education scholarships in Malawi.
So any Rare Tea people buy supports Malawi and long -term sustainable development.
We believe that will be achieved by young people in Malawi with our support. Educational opportunities not AID.
Young Timothy Ngwira was one of the first cohort of students at the brand new University of Malawi in Blantyre in 1965 where Rev Tom Colvin was the University Chaplin. Tom, from Glasgow, was an engineer by profession as well an enthusiastic fruit wine maker, both for Communion and home consumption.
Upon completing his degree in 1969, (Chemistry with Biology), Timothy was recruited as a Lecturer by Bunda College of Agriculture, a constituent college of the University of Malawi. This is where he met his future wife, Miss Margaret Gunn, a Scottish VSO who was the College Librarian. Margaret comes from Lennoxtown outside Glasgow, Scotland. Rev Tom Colvin and Fr Nkhata married Timothy and Margaret Ngwira in St Peters Church in Lilongwe, Malawi on 16 May 1970.
In 1974, Timothy and family went to University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC It was on their journey back to Malawi that Rev Tom Colvin, who was in London, kitted the Ngwiras with proper equipment and literature for fruit wine production. Their son John also serenaded them on the streets of Gilligham on his bagpipes!
Timothy used his knowledge of biochemistry and fermentation processes to produce wine from seven fruits which are individually fermented and bottled.
Back in Malawi in 2002, from the small beginnings in 1978, Linga Winery gradually became known. The fruits are procured from local smallholder farmers hence there is a strong relationship between Linga Wine and farmers.
One example is the Kafere family, where the peaches and plums are procured in December and January, a big contribution to the farmers children’s school fees and fertilizer purchase. Rosella is purchased from a group of women farmers near Kasungu in April and Strawberries and Mulberries from farmers’ groups about 12 km from Lilongwe in August and September.
Environmental sensitivity and a tiny carbon footprint is at the heart of all Linga Winery processes. The surrounding vegetation is home to a variety of birds and other species such as mongoose and monitor lizards.
One of the thematic areas of Linga Winery is Science in Action and the Winery supports activities to help science students see that their scientific knowledge can become a source of self employment.
Wool 'n' Wood
There are now several links with Malawian craft groups but the first ones are always special, Edson Stanley Ngwale (known to us as Mr Stanley) and Bridget Malakita. Mr Stanley is 63, an artisan and wood carver living in Blantyre in a rented house with his wife and four grandchildren, children of his deceased daughter. Lesley from Wool n Wood explains...
"I met Mr Stanley on my first trip in 2008, when he was making small wooden pots for a friend’s business and her children would often be found playing at his feet as he carved.
I asked him if he could make buttons for me and we discussed shapes. Could he perhaps make a baobab tree? He stroked his chin as I described squares and hearts with two and four holes. ‘Would I not prefer elephants’ he said? I think he could carve elephants in his sleep but squares with holes gave him food for thought. The lovely little carved baobab trees now hang from every Wool-n-Wood bag creating a distinctive logo.
Having met with him I have great respect for the demeanor of this kind, gentle man and I know that it means a lot to him when he gets an order. He explains that the local people do not buy carvings and so local carvers rely on foreign customers to make any money. He says ‘he is thankful for the support’. A polite, understated, Malawian, gentleman.
Bridget Malakita, a friend I made on my last trip was more than willing to help as a Malawian contact to assist trade with Mr Stanley, and their families have struck up a friendship.
Our long term goal is to strengthen the link with our artisans and secure them a more sustainable income. We plan to introduce a stipend for Bridget to coordinate the Malawi end of the business. By purchasing items from Wool-n-Wood you are helping to achieve this goal. "
Just Trading Scotland
Based in Paisley in the West of Scotland, JTS is a fair trade organisation set up to facilitate the import and distribution of fairly traded products to the UK.
They empower and educate producers and consumers, through the fair purchasing and sale of delicious food products from the developing world.
JTS seek to provide sustainable incomes and wellbeing for small holder farmers, producers and their families.