News – What has been Accomplished!

Giving Tuesday 2022

November 10, 2022

Dear Friends of Bridges to Malawi,

Giving Tuesday is rapidly approaching and we hope you will remember us when it comes time to donate this year. Our organization relies entirely on the generosity of donors like you, and we spend 100% of your donated money directly on our projects. All administrative costs are paid for by our board members.

2022 has been a particularly difficult year in Malawi because the rains started late and ended early, leading to an ongoing famine affecting the entire country. In addition, there has also been a serious cholera outbreak. Both of these problems are expected to continue until at least May of 2023. Bridges
to Malawi has diverted funds from our projects and raised extra money to help combat these two serious troubles.

To help prevent cholera, we have increased our water source chlorination efforts so that instead of protecting 150,000, we are now protecting 530,000. Although the cholera rate has been increasing elsewhere in Malawi, there have been no cases where we work, AND we are the only organization (government or otherwise) providing this service in the Kasungu District. This cost us an additional $3,000 so far, but we will need $8,000 to continue this life saving protection through to May 2023.

After distributing the complete content of Cindy’s House (our grain storage facility), we then spent $3,000 on famine mitigation efforts, mostly purchasing and then distributing badly needed protein fortified food. Thus far we have been able to support about 4500 people in need. Our Malawian colleague, Peter Minjale, estimates that an additional $100,000 may be necessary to effectively combat this problem in the Kasungu East District alone.

Despite the above, we have still accomplished a tremendous amount thus far in 2022 as we have continued to advance our programs.

Below is a brief list outlining the status of some of our programs.

  • Chicken Pass-On
    • 1000 donated to 200 households benefiting about 1400 people
  • Goat Pass-On
    • 579 donated. Estimated 2,700 farm families benefited with over 15,000 goats
  • Beekeeping
    • 126 beneficiaries in 8 villages
    • Production: 12 kg (about $60) yield per farmer harvesting every 2 months.
    • 5th harvest ongoing (avg per capita income Malawi $550)
  • Dairy Project
    • Herd: 71 cows, including 9 at Kadsikizi, 13 pregnant by sex semen AI at present
    • Total beneficiaries: 62
    • Total calves born: 31 (19 females/12 males)
    • Production: Avg 13 Liters Milk per day (current price $0.95 per liter). Farmers also making and selling
    • Yogurt on a regular basis
  • Cows and Ploughs
    • 43 Cows 7 Villages 1400 people benefit
    • 5 Magoye Rippers and 10 traditional plows
  • Laptops
    • Donated to 10 schools (2 are on the grid, so didn’t need solar)
    • Total: 111 laptops, averaging 10 per school. Over 1650 students have benefited
  • Schools Solar Powered
    • 9 Total (8 secondary and 1 primary)
  • Land Lease Beneficiaries
    • Current: 48 farmers (approximately 330 people)
    • Overall total beneficiaries since project began: 640 families (approximately 4200 people)
    • 80% have bought their own land
    • 94% have graduated from the program since they no longer need assistance
  • Micro-Credit Loan Beneficiaries
    • Current: 150
    • Total since project inception: 670 families (4690 people) avg loan $25, payback rate 98%
  • WELLO Waterwheels
    • Donated all 700
  • Ultrasound devices
    • Donated 6 Total, including 4 Butterfly IQs
  • Hydroponic Systems
    • 1 demonstration project so far.
  • Reforestation Groves
    • Total trees planted since 2017: 330,000 (not including 390,000 more in process for 2022)
    • Total number of villages/groves: 130
  • Bamboo Groves
    • Total planted: 8800 (3800 from seed 2019 and 6,000 seedlings in 2020)
    • Total number of village/groves: 17
  • Artemisia Plants
    • Donated total 4200 in 90 villages. Malaria rates have decreased in these villages from
To donate, please visit our Donation page.

Thanks again and Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,
Brian Lisse

Shake It So – The Women of Mphepo Chimtali

Video credit: Sickiey (Sikayenera Chewengo)

In the above video, our friend Jonathan Slate tells us about his experience visiting Malawi and founding his organization, Shake It So. Jonathan has partnered with Bridges to Malawi and is hoping to grow the project with other organizations (not just those focused on Malawi). So please give him and Shake It So your support!

June 19, 2022

Dear Friends of Bridges to Malawi,

I hope this crazy world hasn’t adversely affected any of you. I thought I’d share some good news with you about our nonprofit and its successes. We had a wonderful medical mission trip to Malawi in April, which included 6 high school seniors. So great to be back there after a COVID induced 2-year hiatus! Peter Minjale estimated, while we were there, that he had seen an 80% reduction in water borne diarrheal diseases (coming to his clinic or needing to be hospitalized) as a result of our chlorination efforts. We did 2 outreach clinics while there, seeing a total of 811 patients and saw NO patients (out of 411) with a diarrhea complaint at the first clinic, and only a handful (out of 400) in the second. This was an extraordinary contrast to prior clinics in these same areas at the same time of year where more than one third of the patients might have such a complaint.

Malaria rates at the first clinic were equally impressive, partially as a result of our Artemesia tea promotion efforts. Only 3% of the patients we tested were positive for malaria, while prior clinics in the same village at the same time of year had test positivity rates well over 50%. Much of this remarkable improvement is attributable to the joint WHO/Malawi government project providing insect repellant impregnated nets to every person, but we can take some credit too. Rates at the second clinic were disappointing at 30%, but net and artemisia availability was limited at this village, hence the difference.

As of this writing our dairy project cooperative herd has increased to 74 cows and milk production is increasing, with an average of 12 liters per day per cow. We’ve had 20 calves born and currently 15 cows are pregnant as a result of our artificial insemination with sex semen.

Our new beekeeping program has been so successful that our 42 beneficiaries in 8 villages are in the process of their 2nd harvest. The 1stharvest yielded 12 kg per farmer, providing each individual farmer with $60. If their yields remain stable and they harvest every 3 months, then each farmer should make $240 a year from honey alone, significantly improving their financial wellbeiing (the avg per capita annual income for Malawi in 2022 is estimated at $550).

Meanwhile Jenn Hardy, our IT guru, has hired a Malawian who can teach coding to the students who have benefited from our laptop donation. He will also be able to adapt the dashboard on the laptops so that they can provide access to all aspects of the school curriculum. He is a very welcome addition to our growing team of Malawian IT experts teaching in our beneficiary schools. Jenn plans to live in Malawi for 5-6 weeks in January with her husband Dow, so that the 2 can enhance their ongoing work on upgrading our donated solar systems and improving our laptop curriculum.

So, all in all, Bridges to Malawi has accomplished a tremendous amount as a result of your generous donations.

There is some bad news, however. The rains started late, ended early, and were lighter than usual, so Peter Minjale, who heads K2TASO, our Malawi NGO sister organization, estimates that there will be a famine in the Kasungu area (where we work). He believes it will begin towards the end of this month or in early July. He has asked us to give $10,000 to help purchase protein fortified corn meal (the main staple of Malawi) as well as soy flour to help thousands of people get through the dangerous next six months until they can plant and harvest again. This will stretch our budget to the extent that we will not be able to provide more farmers with beekeeping opportunities, plant more bamboo, or protect as many people by chlorinating their water UNLESS you help us. Please donate to help us meet this impending crisis before people begin to suffer from malnutrition and die. Any donation will help tremendously.

Thanks so much for your continued generosity!
Brian

June 17, 2022

Our colleague in Malawi, Peter Minjale tells me that the rains ended early this year, and, as a consequence, there will be famine beginning in mid to late July as people run out of food. We need to raise $10,000 US dollars to buy protein supplemented food to help keep people alive and well nourished. Please help. No donation is too small. Please go to our Donate page to make a contribution. Zikomo! ( which means “thank you” in Chichewa)

December 27, 2021

MTUNTHAMA MLATHO PHASE 2 DAIRY BENEFICIARIES PROJECT

Dear Brian,

On behalf of K2 TASO and as indicated in our skype chats three days ago, I am pleased to inform you that we procured cows for 36 new dairy cow farmers making a total of Mtunthama Mulatho Milk Bulking Group as 60 when added to the first 24 farmers.

WHY THE MILK BULKING GROUP IS CAALD MTUNTHAMA MLATHO? Mlatho in English is ‘Bridge’ and the farmers and K2 TASO unanimously came up with this ‘Bridge’ name in recognition of Bridges To Malawi (BTM) for the timely support towards this important dairy project.

It is our K2 TASO’s expectation that we will have further increased animal population by the end of 2022 hence having more milk production to meet the milk processing volume requirements.

Finally let me assure you and the rest of BTM that we will work hard to ensure success of this dairy cow project here in Malawi as we plan to grower bigger than now. Thanks to BTM.

Kind Regards,
Peter.

More recent updates
(Click on the images for more detailed descriptions)