The Tongole Foundation is a UK charity which provides aid to local communities surrounding the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in Malawi, many of whom live in extreme poverty. As of 2008, Nkhotakota had a population estimated at 33,150 with 65 percent of the population in the district lives below the poverty line.
Blue Forest Director Simon Payne was born in Kenya and he’s worked for a number of years as a Trustee for the charity, making good use of his strong connections to East Africa and his project management experience. A few weeks back he headed out to Africa to check in on a number of projects that the charity are currently running.
The Tongole Foundation run a number of different aid projects, for example by providing local women groups with chickens and running school feeding programmes. The charity has a strong focus on empowerment & participation; transparency, openness, accountability and equality. The second branch of the charity was the creation of Tongole Wilderness Lodge, the eco-tourism venture built within the reserve which provides employment and training to local people.
By reducing unemployment and poverty, the Lodge has gone a long way to reduce poaching in the area. Take a look at this article featuring Tongole Wilderness Lodge which explored this concept in more detail: https://www.selamtamagazine.com/stories/return-of-the-reserves.
Working with the team at Blue Forest, the charity has developed a simple design and development plan for the proposed Kalilangwe School. This school will have four structures comprising of two classrooms per block averaging 50 children per classroom – which is a below average number in comparison for Malawi where more often than not over 100 attend a class!
The charity aims to work closely with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) to develop wildlife clubs in schools and to train local school teachers to coordinate and oversee educational activities and to teach about environmental care within existing National Curriculum activities.
If you are interested in finding out more about The Tongole Foundation or you would like to show your support to the charity, please do take a look at their website here or follow them on their Facebook page here.