Thrive Living Trees of Livingstonia (Thrive LTOL) is an initiative in Rumphi District, Malawi. Funded by the Scottish Government and implemented by Thrive, Leith Community Crops in Pots, Living Trees of Livingstonia and communities of 21 schools, it has also included soil analysis by the Universities of Edinburgh and Mzuzu, funded by Global Challenges Research Fund.
Thrive LTOL advances the Malawian Government’s Home-Grown Schools policy, since it helps the schools grow 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. Each school has also built a tree nursery, and grows tree seedlings to donate to households, eventually to create a forest of new trees in this area. Each school will also sell tree seedlings and other cash crops – for example, paprika, coffee and soya beans, which they have begun to grow. Thrive and Living Trees of Livingstonia link the schools to markets, giving the schools income to improve their children’s education.
These small farms are run by Parent Teacher Associations, who are proving that Malawi can meet its most urgent needs independently and sustainably. The work has introduced Leith and Rumphi residents to each other, letting Leith participants ponder on Rumphi rural children’s greater freedom from cars, greater exercise without computers, first-hand knowledge of food production, and less obesity on a low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt diet.
Thrive LTOL has a wide range of benefits: environmental, employment, nutritional, educational and capacity-building.