RIPPLE Africa is a UK registered charity working to improve local education, healthcare, and the environment in Malawi, Africa. Founded by Geoff and Liz Furber in 2003, RIPPLE Africa's activities are based around the rural village of Mwaya in the Nkhata Bay District of Malawi. RIPPLE Africa operates at a grassroots level, involving the community in all aspects of its activity. The charity's projects include running and assisting eight pre-schools, five primary schools, a secondary school and a secondary school bursary scheme, a community library, two community health clinics, Changu Changu Moto fuel-efficient cookstoves, tree-planting and fruit tree projects, woodland conservation, and more.
The charity is managed from the UK by Geoff and Liz, who work for RIPPLE Africa full-time for free, and Megan Canning, who is employed as UK Projects Manager. David Newman, a landscape architect and horticulturist, has also become involved with RIPPLE Africa's environmental projects in Malawi where his skills have been invaluable. David visits Malawi twice a year at his own cost. In Malawi, our Malawian managers conduct the day-to-day running of the charity, and we employ around 150 Malawian staff. Each year, up to 45 overseas volunteers also give their time and share their skills with members of the local communities. RIPPLE Africa has a small annual turnover of around £250,000 and extremely low administration costs. At RIPPLE Africa, we're realists, not idealists, and we believe in providing a hand up, not a hand out. Geoff and Liz Furber started the charity, RIPPLE Africa, in 2003. A married couple from Buckingham, England, both Geoff and Liz shared a passion for Africa, especially northern Malawi. During one fateful trip to the village of Mwaya, Geoff and Liz fell in love with the area and decided to buy a property there and start a charity. Geoff brought business experience from running his own company for 25 years, and Liz had the administrative skills to do the work behind the scenes. With the combination of their skills and a strong passion for Africa, RIPPLE Africa was born.
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 2,000 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.
Geoff and Liz remain at the heart of RIPPLE Africa and are as dedicated as ever, working full time for the charity at absolutely no cost as they always have done. The natural expansion of the charity has meant that RIPPLE Africa now also employs Megan Canning as full-time UK Projects Manager. Megan is a previous RIPPLE Africa volunteer and a professional charity fundraiser whose love for the charity is also at the core of her involvement, and she works for the charity remotely from her home in Glasgow, Scotland. Geoff and Liz spend many months of their year based in Malawi, training and empowering RIPPLE Africa's local Malawian managers and staff, and meeting with the local communities. RIPPLE Africa is a charity which is making a real difference in Malawi, but above all RIPPLE Africa remains a charity which is fun. We're all proud that RIPPLE Africa has developed into an effective, fun and well run charity. RIPPLE Africa is very different to most charities working in Africa. RIPPLE Africa believes that as much money as possible should be spent where it is needed most — Africa! All too often, money given to charity is wasted on administration, monitoring, report writing, inefficient systems, and very little money actually finds its way to the people whom donors wish to help most. RIPPLE Africa is different.
Geoff and Liz have given a substantial amount of their own money to the charity, work full-time for free, pay for their own flights to Malawi each year, and RIPPLE Africa has just one paid employee in the UK who works from home to save costs. With no office costs, no flashy marketing, and all printing, videos, newsletters, and even the website, being produced in-house, we are extremely resourceful with our money and have very low administration costs.
RIPPLE Africa is also 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). RIPPLE Africa is big enough that it is making a huge difference in Malawi, but small enough that the charity 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.