© 2012 AID AFRICA  UK Registered Charity Number 1116336

Serving the most vulnerable      in rural Malawi

Summer Report 2019

including May trip

OHP Centre - Chiringa

We still have 105 students on our list in the 3 Secondary schools in the area, representing about 10% of the total school roll. We’re also providing funds for 29 girls’ boarding fees at Michesi School where dormitories have been added to the campus to encourage girls to stay in education.

We’re committed to those children on our books until they take their final exams in Form 4, but need further help with sponsorship if we are to maintain our current level of support.

Training -

OHP Staff (Frank - our Team Leader, in the navy shirt) promoting composting with a village committee.


Dairy Goats

Fortunately, our site didn’t suffer much structural damage during the cyclone, we just replaced floors in the storerooms that had started to collapse as the ground settled. We’ll reassess next trip. All vehicles were serviced.

Our staff are doing well, diligently handling tasks and continuing to positively impact the local community. We’re researching the need for Palliative Care, and they’re surveying local provision and need. We hope to be able to help develop this neglected aspect of health in future months.  

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We had been considering our goat department for some years now, particularly looking at value, productivity and outcomes.

When we began our milk programme more than a decade ago, AIDS was rampant, funerals common, and many babies orphaned, so our milk saved many lives.  Now with free ARV treatment, people are living with HIV, and not so readily dying from it. Infected pregnant women are treated so the babies are unlikely to be born HIV+, and with the disease slowed with drugs, breast feeding is possible.  

Good news that there are fewer orphaned babies, but it means demand for our milk has been steadily decreasing.

Additionally, last year, the Government brought out

new national nutritional policies, which specified

breastfeeding exclusively.

We’ve always maintained “breast is best” but have

been there to help those mums who struggle to breast

feed for one reason or another. But now baby formula

is specified as the only “allowed” alternative to breast

milk.  Local authorities have warned mothers against

goats’ milk so our list has dwindled to 1 or 2 vulnerable babies down from 50 or so—not enough to effectively run a project.

Most struggling mothers can’t afford formula and there’s no further advice or provision from the maternity or health depts.  Our surplus milk is being given away to nursery school children in our Community Centres so it’s not being wasted—not a bad outlet, but far from the original vision of saving the lives of infants at acute risk. Responsible and accountable, we need to adapt to current needs…..

So the decision was made to dismantle the herd and close the department.  But it’s a long and complex task.  Vision for milk production and a high level of animal welfare are the key factors to passing on the goats, which we’re doing with the support and advice of the district vet dept. We expect it will take quite a while to complete the task properly.

People in urgent need tend to turn up any time, but we have a specific “surgery” each week so villagers can share their personal needs. These are wide and varied but usually include the request for some form of financing.

This can be a dilemma as we aim to dissuade dependency, but often the applicants fall within our target group —  orphans, the elderly, disabled, or AIDS-affected—and are too frail to be able to help themselves.

The most common request is for food, but sleeping mats, knitted blankets, reading glasses, and other goods are happily received, while details for more specific projects are recorded for joint consideration later.


Alongside, having been approached by

The Chiringa Water Users’ Association, we’re also considering ways to help construct new infrastructure to improve water supply to thousands of people who have never had tapped water before.

“Open Hand” -                   giving

Site - Staff & maintenance

One of our “motor-trikes” - a valuable transport tool, here carrying goat food to site …