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Aug 4, 2020

Building on our success at Nankhono

Stabilised soil blocks made for the toilets
Stabilised soil blocks made for the toilets

Muli bwanji, friend!

Muli bwanji is a greeting in Chichewa, the language spoken by the children we support.

In our last report we shared the aspirations of the children in Nankhono who can now go to school thanks to your support in bringing them new classrooms!

We are now proud to share that we are further still building on the support you provided, by constructing a set of toilet blocks for the boys and girls of Nankhono Primary School!


Constructing a safer school environment, especially for girls

 Toilets are extremely important for the children, who usually have nowhere to go at school. It makes the school safer and more hygienic, and it helps increase attendance because if a child is feeling unwell in the belly then they know they will have somewhere private to go during the school day. It is especially important for girls' attendance, and the relationship between school toilets and girls' attendance is well documented. We are committed to promoting gender equality in education in Malawi, and this is just one of the ways that we do that.


Building a sustainable future

Construction has just begun. The last few weeks we have been forming our SSBs - soil stabilised blocks. They are our eco-friendly alternative to the environmentally damaging fired bricks. For bricks to be kiln fired it requires a lot of firewood, which is collected in a highly unsustainable way, causing deforestation and loss of habitat in the nearby Liwonde National Park, and increasing the flood and topsoil loss risk. We do have to use some bricks in a latrine build, as they are required to line the pits where the mess goes, but by limiting their use to just that, we can greatly reduce how many we use.

With SSBs, we compress subsoil that is dug out of the foundations we need anyway, mix it with a small proportion of cement (the stabilising element) and then compress it using a special moulding machine, then let that free and 100% renewable energy source in the sky - the sun - bake then dry and solid. 

Click here to watch a 20 second video of the SSB forming process.


Next steps

SSB fabrication will be finished this week. Next week, we start the digging of the three to four metre deep pits for the latrines and then the floor slabs will be build and the walls and roof go up.

Mlambe builds to a high quality, sustainably, and at a very competitive price. This means we maximise the positive impact we can deliver to children in Malawi.

None of this would be possible without our community of supporters like you. Despite these difficult times, we are more committed than ever to fighting for global equality and especially the rights of children in Malawi.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. You help make it all possible.

We look forward to updating you with the finished toilets in our next report.

With thanks from Steven, Geoffrey, Ed and the Mlambe team.


Want more Mlambe?
This newsletter goes out quarterly, but if you still want more Mlambe then we regularly post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and generally have a new blog post up every fortnight. And, if that's still not enough, you can fundraise or volunteer for us. 

Nankhono toilets - elevations
Nankhono toilets - elevations
Nankhono toilets - plan and sketch
Nankhono toilets - plan and sketch
Mar 27, 2020

Nankhono School student aspirations!

Dear Supporter,

Thank you again for supporting the construction of two school blocks at Nankhono Primary School in Balaka, Malawi!


Supporting aspirations of success

You support is helping ensure that 171 more children in Malawi now go to school. The children at Nankhono have inspiring aspirations to support their community and country, and your support is enabling them to go to school and learn the skills they need to live the lives they choose to value. 

Watch this video to see the children of Nankhono speak about their aspirations!

Link to watch aspirations video on YouTube


Why your support matters

In communities every day across Malawi millions of children are taught with little more than a blackboard beneath a tree: Malawi is missing 36,000 classrooms (1). Most are missing from rural areas, where a quarter of people live in extreme poverty. (2) 

We serve the marginalised children and their families of rural Nkhonde Zone, Balaka District in Southern Malawi, by helping them build robust, fit-for-purpose classrooms, attract and retain qualified teachers, and overcome such challenges as improving school toilets, which increases school attendance, particularly for girls. In doing this, we employ and train local people, developing their livelihood, education,  and employment opportunities.

By donating to this project, you have directly made a difference to 171 such children and their families.


Our COVID-19 response

It's hard to write at this time and not touch on the impact of this on all our lives. As the world economy shrinks and charitable giving turns to supporting local charities in these uncertain times, please stand with us and remember the children of rural Malawi. They have no robust health services, they have no food banks, their families - of whom a quarter live in extreme poverty - have no income support. Their schools are closed, and they are vulnerable.

Your support is more valuable now than at any other time, and your impact as a result is enormous. We have suspended classroom construction on the next project at this uncertain time, but only temporarily. As soon as the situation in Malawi is clear again, we will to be ready to spring into action and keep increasing access to quality education. 

Thank you for supporting us, and we hope that you are well and safe in these challenging times.

I'd be happy to speak at any time if you have any questions or would like to find out more. Feel free to reach out using / +447940257935 .

Other ways to stay in touch:

With kind regards,




Ed Forrest

Chief Executive
The Mlambe Project
+44 7940 257 935




(1) UNICEF Malawi 2018 Education Budget Brief

(2) International Monetary Fund Country Report No. 17/184 - access PDF

Nov 5, 2019

Nankhono's Children have got their classrooms!

Classrooms 3 and 4
Classrooms 3 and 4

We are really delighted to announce that we have built classrooms 3 & 4 of of our build project and they are finally up this week! Thank you so much to everyone who has given during the campaign, donations big and small have made all the difference to us achieving our goals.

Chief Boxi, has expressed his thanks, the community leader " Thank you for supporting Nankhono's children. We are very happy with this school. We have many children that need help at this school, we hope you can carry on helping us. Thank you to all the donors that have made this possible.

As a result of the donations you gave, children at Nankhono School can now stay in school until they are thirteen, giving them an extra two years of primary education, this is particularly brilliant as so many children in Malawi do not go on to secondary education.

You can watch a video of the community giving their thanks in the links.

Chief Executive of the project, Anna Day, shares her views about what has happened during the project:

"This year has been a pivotal year for our build team, moving from earthbag building to building with compressed earth bricks (Stabilised Soil Bricks, known as 'SSB's for short). We have had a wonderful engineering team- Charlie Bowles and Henry Hall this year, and this now marks Charlie's fourth year on the project as our Building Programmes Manager who supported this build and helped us to adapt the SSB's for use on corners replacing expensive concrete and iron girders being used to weight bear on corners of buildings in other SSB projects in Malawi. We have seen a growing trend of NGO's and other builders coming to admire and learn from our building techniques, which are far superior to most building companies in Malawi. It is a testimony to our building project managers, Steven Kambalame and Geoffrey Namagowa in Malawi that they have gone on to become leading builders in SSB, within a year of first piloting the technique. Our building team have worked hard and fast, each brick is individually made, and there are tens of thousands of bricks that go to make up each build! It is hard to contemplate just howWe challenging it is making one brick at a time. We have learned alot and become more efficient throughout the year, and builders have significantly reduced manufacturing time for the bricks. We have very little machinery on site, and with most of the building conducted by hand, it is a testimony to the team's hard work that they close the building season on two extremely high standard builds".


Charlie Bowles, the Building Projects Manager said "This year we have seen our Malawian building team taking on more independence and capability, they are working very independently now and we still support them from afar, but its definitely come along so far from where we have begun."

We have a favour to ask, will you set up a regular donation to us so we can carry on this incredible work? You mean the world to us, having you in our body of supporters. A regular donation could give us a valuable opportunity to help us plan towards our goal of giving every child in Malawi a classroom place in the next five years!

Classrooms 1 and 2
Classrooms 1 and 2
Photo of children inside classroom 1
Photo of children inside classroom 1
Our building team
Our building team
Inside classroom 3
Inside classroom 3


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