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  • Writer's pictureGeorgia-May

Planting trees, teaching sustainability and providing desks - our Umunthu Plus project

Students happy to receive their new desks
Students happy to receive their new desks!

About us

At Think Malawi, we work hand in hand with Malawians to improve access to quality education, allowing them to fulfil their ambitions, improve their quality of life and contribute to Malawi’s development. We have a team of knowledgeable and dedicated trustees and volunteers who operate the charity, this enables over 90% of all donations to go directly to the education projects in Malawi which we support.

About Umunthu Plus

Umunthu Plus is a Malawi Charity Organisation which was established in 2015 by a concerned group of young women primary school teachers. Since then, it has worked on sexual reproductive health rights, education, human rights and general livelihood targeting the most vulnerable population in Malawi with the primary target being women, girls and children.

Our project with Umunthu Plus aims to improve access to quality education by:

  • directly supporting schools to provide desks and learning and teaching materials to support the learning environment. In the long run this will improve learning outcomes as learners will feel comfortable, focused and be able to participate fully in classroom activities. The end goal is to reduce the number of students, girls in particular, who dropout of education.

  • Increase availability of learning materials through training School Management Committees (SMC), Parents and Teachers Associations (PTA) and Mothers groups.

  • Train committees in environmental conservation including nursery preparation and conservation to conserve natural resources, as some of the trees planted will be required for making desks which will need replacement. It is anticipated that these trees will generate income too. Seeds for fruit trees and for wood for firewood and furniture construction will be sown in the grounds of the schools that are part of the project.

The project is in two Educational zones of Boma and Lozi and started in December 2021, and is expected to finish in July 2022.

What has the project achieved so far?

Tree planting and education:

Student planting tree
Tree planting

Student planting tree
Tree planting

The planting of trees has wide reaching benefits, from instilling an environmental conversation spirit in young people, improving learning standards and environments by providing fruits for nutrition in schools, water and sanitation environmental awareness.

1000 tree seedlings (300 fruit trees and 700 indigenous trees) were shared among the two schools. The fruit trees are a mixture of avocado, pears, oranges, tangerines, sour-soup, mangoes and guavas. The indigenous trees are Ntangatanga, blue gum and Kenyan Umbrella, just to mention a few.

Along with the planting of the trees, the district forestry office shared their knowledge to students, teachers and communities in order to empower everyone to be more resilient to climate related events such as floods, drought, and strong winds.

Training has been provided by district forestry officers, using their expertise so that the communities appreciate how important it is to champion care for the planted trees. Training covered a number of topics from:

  • Roles of local communities in looking after the trees

  • Why communities should own and protect trees and other environment asset like any other

  • Source plant materials

  • Set simple management rules

  • Coordination between school staff and community leadership for environmental conservation

And the benefits of these trees stretch far and wide, as it is hoped that they will generate income in the near future, and enable more desks to be built for the school when needed.


Building of desks
Desk building

80 desks were made to help learners feel more comfortable, focused and able to participate fully in classroom activities. The desks were delivered to the schools with a handover ceremony where community representatives, chiefs, school management committees, primary education advisors and head teachers were present. On receiving, they applauded the donation of desks as girls and learners with disabilities are in dire need for the support of desks to enable them to participate in class.

One of the learners could not hold in her happiness towards the desks, saying she feels they will make a huge impact and enable them to participate in class where before they could not stand up and participate for fear of being laughed at.

‘I am because we are’ - the Umunthu philosophy

Students receiving desks
Receiving the desks

It’s clear to see the impact the project has already made through planting trees, educating learners and the community on sustainability and tree management, and providing essential desks to enable learners to continue education in a comfortable environment where they are able to focus more and participate in class.

Whilst our volunteers are the reason we can send 90% of donations directly to causes in Malawi, we would not be able to support these causes without our generous donors.

You can help give young Malawians better access to education, improve their quality of life, and ultimately contribute to Malawi’s development by making a donation to ThinkMalawi.

Think Malawi focuses on using charitable funds for sustainable projects in Malawi that will have a lasting impact on the access to education and the quality of life of Malawian children. Previous projects funded by the charity in Malawi have included classroom construction, a feeding programme, water sanitation projects, and the provision of reusable sanitary pads and changing rooms in schools.

If you are passionate about making charitable donations to sustainable causes in Malawi, you can make a lasting difference by joining Think Malawi together as a regular donor. By making a regular donation from as little as £5 per month you will receive newsletter updates on how donations are being used, early access to events, and the opportunity to attend our AGM. Join Think Malawi together today.

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Our support for educational projects, which help children in Malawi to fulfill their potential, is made possible by our regular donors. Please consider becoming a regular donor yourself, and join our community.

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