Empowering communities in Malawi since 2008
In 2007, Cassandra Yoder, a sixteen-year-old American, traveled to Malawi to volunteer, and was also captivated by the country and people and wanted to do more. Together with her mother, they started a US not-for-profit in 2008 and selected Ripple Africa as an on-the-ground partner to implement their education projects.
With a shared ethos and strong working relationship, a decision was made to officially join forces in 2013, establishing US operations under the Ripple Africa name. Since that time, Ripple Africa’s success is the shared story of the work of both the UK and US teams.
Ripple Africa’s Education and Healthcare projects are based around the rural village of Mwaya in the Nkhata Bay District of Malawi, and our large-scale Environment projects now span six Districts. The charity’s overriding aim is to empower communities so they themselves can achieve a sustainable future – we strongly believe that it is the local people who are the solution to many of the challenges they face. We do many things, as many different issues are closely linked. Everything Ripple Africa does is in response to the local communities’ needs. By enabling the local communities, great things can happen and they are all life changing. Ripple Africa’s belief is “Providing a hand UP and not a hand out,” and that philosophy has been central to the charity’s ideology for nearly two decades.
Read more about Ripple Africa’s history below.
WE BELIEVE IN EMPOWERING LOCAL COMMUNITIES TO BE THE SOLUTION
MWAYA PRIMARY SCHOOL WAS THE FIRST
SCHOOL RIPPLE AFRICA SUPPORTED
Kay and Cassandra during a trip to see education projects in Malawi
ABOUT RIPPLE AFRICA – OUR ON-THE-GROUND PARTNER IN MALAWI
Ripple Africa is a charity registered in both the UK and the USA, working to improve the environment and local education in Malawi, Africa. The charity was founded in 2003 by Geoff and Liz Furber who both share a passion for Africa, especially northern Malawi. During one fateful trip (and some very questionable map reading!) to Malawi, they found their way to the village of Mwaya and fell in love with the area. They decided to buy a property there and, with the combination of their skills and a strong passion for Africa, Ripple Africa was born.
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Although the charity began with humble roots, employing just a handful of Malawian staff and welcoming a few overseas volunteers to help, it wasn’t long before the needs of the community meant that Ripple Africa began to expand, growing one project at a time into the charity it is now.
Today, the charity has over 8,000 people working on Ripple Africa projects on the ground and has a tremendous impact on the local communities. However, despite the charity’s significant achievements and ambitious scope, Ripple Africa is still small enough that the charity remains home-grown and grassroots based, and it is our intention to keep it that way.
Ripple Africa is very different in its approach to the local community. Ripple Africa believes in empowering local people to manage the projects which affect their own community, and the charity only employs Malawian nationals in Malawi (no paid Westerners who could take a local job). The charity is big enough that it is making a huge difference in Malawi, but small enough that it remains effective, efficient, and fun. Above all, Ripple Africa is different because everyone involved is so passionate about what the charity is doing, and it is this great enjoyment and enthusiasm which makes Ripple Africa the charity that it is.
Ripple Africa is committed to all projects in the long term; everything we do is led by the local people, operating at a grassroots level, involving the community in all aspects of its activity, helping to ensure that the local communities have a positive, more prosperous and happy future in an amazing country.
HOW RIPPLE AFRICA RUNS IN MALAWI
- Ripple Africa have a long term commitment to local communities. They started by running many projects in a small area learning from experiences before expanding. They now run large scale conservation projects over many districts and support healthcare and education projects near to the headquarters in Nkhata Bay District.
- They work closely with the local communities, Chiefs, and District government departments, empowering local communities to be the solution.
- Ripple Africa employ 150 Malawian staff and there are more than 8,000 local volunteers working on the projects.
- The projects are sustainable, simple, low tech and innovative. They are importantly, community-led projects.
- We are realists, not idealists and ensure that local communities have a positive future
- Efficient and effective use of all our funding
- Full transparency about our successes and failures
- Passionate and hardworking, but we have fun!
Kay with a group of supporters who visited the projects in Malawi
Some of the fuel-efficient cookstove team working together
Founder Geoff with some of the team during a recent trip