Seed For Life. Feed For Life Progress Report June 2020

SEEDforLIFE.FEEDforLIFE.SCIO   Charity No: SCO48172

The aims of S4L is to eradicate hunger and poverty from the Community of Bemvu Malawi in a sustainable manner. We are on target for achieving these aims after only three years and as far as the Farming and Feeding programme is concerned to be self sufficient within the next few years.

To enable this to happen  in the formative years we not only have to supply funding to achieve these goals but also to supply training and to build a robust management structure over in Malawi which is answerable to a higher authority in order to insure the integrity of the project. Since it`s inception the Management in Bemvu has been controlled by the Church Authorities however this has proved to have a bias in favour of the Church`s own advantage in as much as some of the decisions have over ridden general consensus and they have continually considered that part of the S4L funding should be diverted to Church funds.

To achieve an Independent Management Structure a Company Limited by Guarantee has been formed after extensive consultation with Scottish Malawi Partnership/independent consultants/Malawi Government Officials /Corra (manage the Grant aid donated by the Scottish Government who were not happy with the Church`s attitude in Malawi) and of course the Community of Bemvu.  The Company has been formed with six Directors made up of a cross section of the Community including various religions and genders living in areas throughout the District. This Company will be answerable to and must report back to the Malawi Authorities the same as any other Limited Company as well as to S4L Scotland who in turn report back to OSCR the Scottish Charities Regulator and CORRA who administer grant funding on behalf of the Scottish Government.

There will be a second tier of management in Bemvu made up of a cross section of the community which will act on an advisory basis submitting plans and proposals to the Company.

The project is expanding each year – This harvest which has just finished has resulted in a total yield of 181 tonnes of Maize which has been grown by 120 farmers out of that tonnage 9.85 tonnes is in store in Bemvu for use in the School Feeding programme (Feeding 1200 primary school children) and 49.67 tonnes is being stored in a commercial storage facility this will be held until prices are favourable and then sold – the money going into a Company Bank account held in Malawi to be used once the project becomes completely independent from Scottish funding (the proceeds from the last couple of years sales currently amounts to £6,500 in this account.).The balance of 121.48 tonnes was kept by the 120 beneficiaries for their own use.  We are confident that barring any complete disasters we are on the right course for a sustainable future with this project.

September 2019 we sponsored 25 pupils through their four year secondary education an increase on previous years of 20 our ambition for this coming September is 30 pupils, once we start the pupils on their Secondary Education we are committing to the full four year curriculum which is a substantial amount of money none of which is covered by grant aid and we are totally reliant on the generosity of the public to make a donation. We consider that this is a really worthwhile cause as the only way that a Country like Malawi is going to work it`s way out of poverty is through Education which in the case of Secondary Education has to be paid for privately.

Last October we also funded £1,200.00 for the Fertiliser fund which supplies seed and fertiliser to vulnerable people who are old, widowed or disabled this is a gift funded by donation generally through fund raising.

Trees saplings have been provided since the start of the project to be grown for the supply of fruit in order to achieve a more balanced diet or for firewood which is the principle source of heat for cooking in the area. The growth of these trees has had varied success in the past although since vetting the recipients more carefully this season the survival rate appears to be much improved. A nursery has been established for growing banana trees which allows a continual supply of tree saplings throughout the year for general dispersal to the Community.

This growing year we move into our second year of Grant Aid from the Scottish Government but to achieve the timetable for self sufficiency we had also included fund raising in the initial budge , however Covid-19 has seen a halt to this ambition and as we require funds prior to the growing season starting in October it is becoming evident that we shall have to either cut back on what was planned or appeal to the generosity of people to send in any donation that they would feel comfortable. We realise that this is a `Big Ask` in this current climate, Malawi of course is living through the Covid-19 crisis as well, although at the time of writing Bemvu itself only has one recorded case and that was a person who had come from Mozambique. We have made so much progress and it cannot be stressed enough that this is Life Changing to the people in Bemvu who are so appreciative, but their main fear is that we abandon them part way through this Project.

If you wish to donate, please:

Send Cheques/Cash to:

Project Manager: Dave Alsop, Braeview, Cuan Road, Seil, Oban, PA34 4RA

Treasurer: Gerry Foster, Achnaclach Cottage, Clachan Seil, PA34 4TL

Chairman: Dr George Hannah, Finlaggan, Clachan Seil, PA34 4TL

Bank Transfer: Royal Bank of Scotland, a/c name: SeedforLife.FeedforLife.SCIO

Sort Code: 83-26-04                        a/c no 00259439

There is also a very easy way of supporting the project which doesn`t cost anything at all but has the potential of giving S4L extra funds and that is through EasyFunding which Maggie outlines below.

A Message about Fundraising

Fundraising has come to a standstill since the coronavirus lockdown began, so I want to endorse a method of raising money for Seed for Life which is really easy, and which is still possible in the current circumstances.

It is over year since we registered Seed for Life with easyfundraising.   We currently have 10 supporters who have raised over £50 in that time, but I think we can improve on that because I am sure there are more than 10 of our supporters shopping online!

Easyfundraising is a really simple way to raise money for Seed for Life when you shop online with over 4000 retailers like Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, eBay and M&S, and it's completely free.  The retailers pledge to give a percentage of the cost of your online purchases to your chosen charity.

Over £31 million has already been raised for good causes in the UK by easyfundraising shoppers, so please help us get our share!

If you haven’t signed up to support us yet, please consider it - it’s easy and completely free. These donations really help us, so it would be great if you could take a moment to get started.

Here is a link to our page:      https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/seedforlife/

Please remember to use easyfundraising every time you shop online.

If you think you might forget, then download the Donation Reminder from the website. It provides a pop-up reminder every time you shop online with any retailer who has engaged with the scheme.

Please encourage friends and family to register too.

Any questions, please get in touch with me.

Thanks for your continued support for Seed for Life.

 

Maggie Thorpe

June 2020

 

On behalf of all the Community in Bemvu can we send a big thank you to all the generous people who have donated so much time, effort and money to this project which not so long ago seemed to be so unachievable. WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE AND IT IS A GOOD FEELING.