Thrive’s Climate and environment programme started with a community forestry project funded by the Scottish Government and implemented by Thrive, Living Trees of Livingstonia and Parent Teacher Associations of 21 schools in Rumphi District, Malawi. It also included soil analysis by the Universities of Edinburgh and Mzuzu, funded by Global Challenges Research Fund. It ended in October 2020.
This schools’ community forestry project advanced the Malawian Government’s Home-Grown Schools policy, since 20 primary schools are now growing and cooking breakfast foods for their children. Our baseline survey found that only 21% of children ate breakfast, and so 79% of children were eating only after school. 3 years later, at project end in October 2020, each school was providing breakfast to all their children 2 or 3 days per week, a total of over 5,280 children. Each school built a tree nursery, and together they are growing on 8,000 saplings and have donated an additional 6,000 to households, to start a forest of new trees spread over many gardens. The schools keep some fruit trees for food for the children, and 9 schools are growing crops such as coffee and paprika for sale, using the proceeds to improve their schools and hence their children’s education. These small farms are run by Parent Teacher Associations who are meeting their schools’ most urgent needs independently and sustainably.
Thrive’s first project brought a wide range of benefits which remain with these schools: environmental, nutritional and educational.