Funding our Future
LIVINGWAY EDUCATION is already showing the way in sustainable activity leading towards self-reliant community action. In order to grow from this base, it will need to ensure a robust electricity supply as well as widening its income source. To do this LWE has identified short, medium and long term objectives and explained the need to seek additional funding.
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Planning for the future
The concept of sustainable development has sometimes missed the goal of provoking self-reliance. That is, while being concerned to act protectively towards the future, and maintaining interventional vigour, the goal of enabling the recipient of development to own the process has been often overlooked.
To work in a way that partly overcomes this deficiency LIVINGWAY EDUCATION brought an educational intervention that is enabled through the creation of an income stream. The intervention involved community leaders at a grass-roots level from the outset, and encouraged an inclusive attitude towards the contribution of organisational direction.
The initial concept was of a guest house providing income so that teacher CPD might be carried out autonomously and without influence from outside interests (especially ‘donor’ interests). This expanded to allow community interests to be served by community leaders who could build social capital, facilitate skills exchange which in turn would boost economic capacity. This has been carried out in our RealAid programme.
Providing for those who are beyond the normal help provided for those suffering from shortages of maize is only the start. Building good relationships in the community is more important. What follows are in-depth discussion about what to do to prevent the problem occurring.
RealAid discussions aimed at delivering a self-reliant solution. Community leaders will identify those who are capable of sharing skills and knowledge to less successful farmers.
Local leaders contributing to the solutions – not waiting for hand-outs but organising RealAid in the form of agricultural training for their community.
RealAid was paid for by the income generated by the LIVINGWAY Guest House. The guest House is one income stream. The use of the hall as a conference facility is another. Recently the LWE grounds have been used by church and youth groups.
Another potential income stream may be found with the addition of a Hammer Mill. For this we need a robust electricity supply.
Another need for the guest house and the groups who are using the site is a borehole from which clean drinking and washing water might be obtained. At present the guest house uses water drawn from the fresh-water lake to allow washing and to fill toilet cisterns. Water for drinking is brought up from the village around half a kilometre away.
Most of the building work has been completed at LIVINGWAY EDUCATION but there is still work to be done on the reception area. It is up to roof level but needs a roof, plastering, glazing and painting.
The manager for LIVINGWAY EDUCATION has been using a car to carry out the business of the NGO but the car has recently broken down to the point where further work would no longer be economical. It has been suggested that the majority of his current work could be carried out were he to have a motor-bike.
Medium – term objectives: the cost
First and foremost, of our current needs for funding is to have a solution to our need for power. There are really only two options. Escom mains supply and a solar solution.
Solar: We have already tried to power the site with an array of four solar panels linked to four large batteries. The system proved almost useless within a few months. Even when working at capacity it only provided .6 KW per hour for a few hours after the sun went down. It would last a little longer if only lights were used. We needed a more robust system. Most of the wiring and plastic fixtures are already present but we need to be sure that any solar solution was capable of providing a draw of 10 kw per hour during the day and up to half of that during the evening. 1 KW would be needed through the night. We have one quote of £32,000 for putting in such a system
Escom: The cost of setting up a transformer and putting us on the mains would be around 15 million Mk (£15,000). This would enable LWE to carry out all the activities necessary for its RealAid programme, the teacher CPD and activities planned by groups hiring our facilities.
It would be possible to use the current store room for the location of the mill. We would need to install a suitable electricity supply for this to become a reality. There are about 5000 inhabitants in the surrounding villages who would benefit from a mill located closer to where they live on the LWE site.
We have a suitable building to site a suitable hammer mill that would cost only around £500. However, operating the mill hinges on whether we can have a supply of electricity (solar or mains). We can only buy one AFTER we have mains or solar electricity installed. We could use the generator but the running costs would be too high.
We really need a borehole on the site. Even one that is operated manually like the one in the village. One other NGO was getting a borehole drilled for 3.1 m MK (£3,100). If we could get an electricity supply a submersible pump would be a good solution. We also need a water tank for the borehole water.
Roof on reception
The completion of the building project has been estimated to cost around 3 -4 million Malawian Kwacha (£3-4,000). I think this is likely to be a low estimate and we ought to budget for at least 5 m Mk (£5,000). While we have a large hall small meeting rooms and an office would assist the smooth running of both the Teaching centre and the Guest house.
We have to decide where this provision fits in the plan. Is it essential NOW? Or can it wait? The initial cost of such a means of transport might be 1.2 million Mk (£1,200). The annual running costs of the motor-bike may be as much again.
It could be done in the next few months – even a year. but it would mean that other short term projects may be pushed back because it increases running costs. It is definitely a medium term objective but what is the priority? (see table).
As states the bike brings with it higher running costs. It moves the running costs up to 4.5 million Mk (£4,500) per year and this is without increasing our income. It is why I think we need to get the electricity and the hammer mill before we look for a bike.
The plan of having a mini-bus or another car is definitely a long term objective. This would require us to seek additional funding for both the initial cost and the maintenance. Possible 5 -15 m Mk (£5,000-£15,000)
Opening the Door:
Making all this possible LIVINGWAY EDUCATION (LWE) is praying for partners to fund the activities mentioned above. Along with its parent charity SENTAfrica, and the Methodist church in Niton LWE hopes to locate funding to complete its medium term objectives.
Join us in this journey and pray for the work LIVINGWAY EDUCATION as it seeks to build community capacity to overcome skills shortages, ensure food security and encourage the professional development of teachers.
We would love to hear from those who are praying and contributing to this work. All true development leads to self-reliance but if it is truly the work God has given us to do it begins with prayer.
If you want to know more about the programmes or activities of LIVINGWAY EDUCATION write to me, Jamie Jamieson, at email@example.com