We have been working in Malawi for several years, delivering co-op development work.

Over 4,000 women and nearly 2,000 men have received co-operative development training and support across the three regions of Malawi, promoting the production of high value crops of coffee, macadamia, tea, sugarcane and rice.

Practical skills

Our training on making organic compost has enabled co-operative members to boost their incomes through growing better crops and saving money on chemical fertilisers. The quality of life at home has also increased through the use of solar lamps. This has meant that children are now able to complete school work, with their families saving the money they would usually have spent on fuel.

Families have also benefited from the outcomes of gender training, meaning that domestic work is shared more evenly at home. More women are now in leadership positions within their co-operatives, demonstrating a stronger voice both at home and in the community. The current project has seen the number of women in leadership positions within co-operatives increase by over 18% since we started delivering the gender training programmes.

A lasting legacy

We have also supported the growth of 328 new co-op businesses and the creation of the country's first national apex body for co-operatives, the Malawi Federation of Co‑operatives (MAFECO). Our follow up project, which ran from 2015-2018, was targeted specifically at young people to encourage them to set up their own co-ops.

It also focused on encouraging more women to become leaders of their co-ops and promotes environmental sustainability. The overall aim is to strengthen the fledgling co-op apex body to develop and grow, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.