The following is an extract from the Medic Malawi Newsletter
Medic Malawi Newsletter September 2018
The Power of Sunshine
When I give talks about Malawi , I have often been known to say that the country’s main resource is sunshine, but that it is very difficult to use it. Now at last that may change , thanks to the work of Wellington Rotary Club here in Shropshire.
Wellington Rotary have been fantastic supporters of Medic Malawi for several years , both individually and as a group, starting with the installation of a new water pump and bore hole in Mtunthama in 2012. About three years ago they initiated a bid on our behalf to Rotary International, for funding for solar panels at the hospital , to power the hospital, orphanage and indeed the water pump.
It has been a long and intricate process , driven forward with endless patience, persistence and considerable technical expertise by Brian Richards , last year’s Club President. It has relied on the partnership of Lilongwe Rotary Club in Malawi , and I have had the pleasure of speaking to them about it in Malawi on two occasions. The decision-makers at Rotary international, rightly of course , dissected the scheme in every detail, making certain it meet their criteria and that it was workable , as well as transparent and all that sort of thing. Indeed they extended the bid, asking us to include elements of direct healthcare and continuity of provision. The result is that the final scheme, which is just starting to be implemented , includes not only solar panels, but also funding for eye surgery, and above all , a programme of eye care education and training, seeking both to avert eye disease and alert rural clinical staff to aspects of early treatment .
In addition to endless negotiation , there were elements of matched funding in the bid both from Wellington Club and Rotary District funds, and eventually £45000 has been made available. My thanks to all Rotarians involved , here and in Malawi, and to the two outstanding administrators at St Andrew’s, Aubrey Wande (yes ,it goes back to his time !) and Chris Zambira who did so much excellent work on the St Andrew’s input for the bid.
The funds have now been authorised, but there is a still some way to go before the project will be complete . There will no doubt be technical obstacles to overcome, but it is transformative . Not only will it will reduce electricity bills and be greener, but maybe above all God’s Sunshine is a great deal more reliable than the local electricity supplier , ESCOM.
And for our specialist eye care provision, it is magnificent . It sustains the monthly surgery, and enables Medic Malawi funds to invest in new much-needed equipment .
Thank you a thousand times to all concerned .