Newsletter January, 2024

First things first, HAPPY NEW YEAR! 🥳 

We are so excited for 2024 and all the incredible experiences and connections it will bring, but before we get into that we want to update you on all that’s been happening in the small port town of Nkhatabay.

Malawi’s summers (or hot/dry season) run from August to November, and this one has been particularly hot with several heat waves rolling across the country. It is becoming increasingly evident that Malawi will continue to face extreme weather patterns due to climate change, we are committed to doing our part for the planet – read on to learn how you can support our work of reforestation, recycling, and sustainability. Despite this, however, this country is still so beautiful and the people ever so warm – and we hope to see you here soon!  

But with summer’s end, in comes what might be our favourite time of the year – the rainy season! The beauty of Nkhatabay is that even during the rains, the sun still comes out, meaning you get to have cosy mornings and sunny afternoons; what a perfect balance, wouldn’t you agree?   

Amidst the refreshing showers, we’ve also been busy renovating and revitalising some of the rooms and spaces at the lodge. These revitalized spaces now offer an enhanced experience for our guests, blending modern comfort with the serenity of the surrounding environment, and we simply can’t wait for you to experience the refined charm for yourself. 

In addition to this, many of you will be happy to know that the infamous deck has also had a facelift! Now bigger and sturdier (we’re prepared for all weather), this is the perfect spot for the loungers and the groovers to enjoy the views, listen to some tunes, and sip on one of our signature cocktails (BTW, we’ve added a few more of those to the menu!).  

Cheers to our hardworking handymen; Frank, Isaac, Timothy, and Matias for the effort they’ve put into these renovations we couldn’t be happier with the results.  

Looking ahead to January, we’re all set to install Wi-Fi for our workspace. This newly built area has been a great addition to Butterfly, offering a quiet cove for the digital nomads, management staff, and those of us who just have one more email to get to before diving into the water, and we hope the installation of Wi-Fi will not only make remote work easier for the travelers but also provide a convenient option for locals

Information & Media centre

The center remains committed to its goal of fostering community development by actively disseminating relevant information through various channels such as WhatsApp groups, the onsite library and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. With the Media Room and Recording Studio now fully operational, we’ve organized a series of workshops, including CV building, DJ training, and an introduction to filmmaking. Additionally, every Wednesday is dedicated to teaching computer basics, with these sessions offered free of charge to community members. 

Butterfly Space
Support the general upkeep and progression of all our Butterfly community development projects

Disability Centres
Help purchase materials for vocational training sessions at Pundu & Mpamba disability centres.

Offset your carbon by purchasing a tree pack a school.

Youth Club

Assist with finishing touches for the building renovation.

E.A.R.T.H Workshops

Following the successful pilot of our program in Pundu Village, we’ve introduced the E.A.R.T.H Workshops – an acronym representing Environment, Agroforestry, Regeneration, Topsoil, and Health. This initiative originated from a series of workshops conducted in Pundu Village, where we actively addressed environmental, food, and livelihood challenges prevalent in Malawi.

Building on the success in Pundu, our dedicated community development outreach team, equipped with extensive experience, is ready to extend these workshops to various villages in Nkhatabay over a two-month period. This expansion is a direct response to the positive impact witnessed in Pundu and aligns with our commitment to empower communities with essential skills needed to confront and overcome their challenges.

The workshops will be highly interactive, fostering engagement and active participation among the villagers. From these informative sessions, we will seamlessly transition into a six-week implementation and support phase. This extended period is designed to ensure a smooth integration of sustainable practices into the daily lives of the villages.

Our commitment goes beyond the initial workshops and implementation phase. We have planned quarterly visits to each village, providing ongoing support, encouragement, and monitoring progress.

As part of the E.A.R.T.H program, we are excited to incorporate a new tree planting project. Developed in partnership with the Ntchisi Forest Conservation Team and members of the Mulanje Conservation Team, we have had access to amazing opportunities to learn and plan our tree projects, ensuring that our trees have the best possible survival rates. Our new tree nursery consists of 20,000 indigenous trees, These trees will be planted next year in villages that express genuine interest and enthusiasm for forest protection. The project also aims to educate villages on planting indigenous and fruit trees in both the villages and surrounding degraded forests.

Among the diverse workshops offered, the Fuel Reducing Cookstoves workshop opens many opportunities for carbon offsetting and corporate social responsibility partners to choose us for offsetting their emissions.
To support this initiative, we are actively seeking personal sponsors interested in buying trees (for 50p) as a one-off contribution or through a longer-term monthly donation.

Previous volunteers

We were delighted to host enthusiastic volunteers who played crucial roles in various areas of our projects. Leo and Camille from France contributed to the youth club by organizing and teaching games at both the youth club hall and Chikale Primary School playground. They also painted classrooms at Stepping Stones School and donated equipment to the Media Room. 

Amber and Lewis from England were involved in the Baby Baskets initiative, distributing essential items to newborns at Mkondezi District Hospital as well as donating supplies and engaging in activities with the youth club. 

Kaya from England focused on a nutrition internship, exploring the importance of a balanced diet and how local resources can be utilized. Fraser who came together with Kaya dedicated his time to running a boxing session and generously donated equipment for ongoing training.

We also had Judith and Sarah from Germany who dedicated their time to assisting us with setting up our CSR program (Learn more about that here), ran photography workshops, and really amped up our social media content planning. Graham from the USA was also a great help to our CSR programming and MSPC content planning. 

A HUGE thank you to each and every one of these volunteers, we hope to see you again soon! 

Stepping Stones

In September 2023, we started the new school year and what a great start to the year we have had! Stepping Stones is becoming more and more known, with parents relocating their children in order to attend the school. We had 40 new students register and most classes are now full, or oversubscribed. 

One of our teachers, Mirriam, has just returned after maternity leave. She had a little girl called Collette, who is now officially our youngest child in the nursery. Our other teacher, Felistus, has just graduated from a play-based early years training programme which was facilitated and funded by Perivoli Trust. Felistus attended training after school and at weekends for two years. Well done to her for showing such commitment to her professional development! 

At the end of the term, we welcomed The Eco Build Movement to school. They ran a workshop about making eco-bricks from plastic waste and taught about waste management to avoid plastic pollution. There is a lot of plastic waste in Malawi so it is great to try to educate the next generation in plastic waste and environmentalism. 

We have had a lot of visitors and volunteers to the school in recent months, and they brought so much – from teaching our weaving group how to crochet, to painting classrooms, and building goalposts for football, refreshing the playground with a tyre snake, setting up rubbish bins, making maracas, visiting the hospital to donate baby basket, the list goes on! If you would like to volunteer with us at Stepping Stones, or with our affiliated programmes through Butterfly Space, please get in touch. We love visitors!


Offset your carbon with MSPC
A massive shout out to The Solon Foundation  who assisted MSPC with emergency funding in order to complete this year’s activities. For our active schools, providing this low level financial support is essential for them to be able to continue the programme and remain motivated; after a difficult three years in schools we were very grateful.

Firstly we were able to carry out a full teacher training offering two places to all the schools on the programme. For the first time we held it at Stepping Stones and invited their teachers to get involved as well.  This was a massive success with over 30 teachers trained from across the District, this training provides the teachers with the skills to carry out their weekly practical sessions with the kids at their school.

We also got to hold Teachers meetings for the first time in a while and they are an essential part of the programme in terms of the morale and motivation of the teachers.  Held in ‘Cluster’ groups,  of schools that are located geographically close together, these meetings give teachers a chance to share their ideas and see what solutions other schools may have come up with.  Each meeting is held rotationally at different schools, so we  can all see the progress of each school.  

At this time of the year, the rains have just started so it is the start of the planting season.  We delivered fruit trees to be planted at all the schools, both from a tree nursery and propagated here at Butterfly.  We also delivered lots of tree seeds and planting tubes for those schools interested in setting up their own tree nursery.  The sessions this term are all about planting  and diversity, so we are looking forward to seeing what the schools produce this year.
“Hidden in our hearts is a longing to live deeply and with purpose and joy, to know and to be known, to be concerned with another; and to make a difference. In this dance of giving and receiving, we create our community, our World and ourselves”
Wish List
Wondering what to bring with you or what you can send to help out? We are constantly working on project & lodge improvements and are looking for a variety of items that could assist in our community development. Check out our hefty Wish List for project specific equipment and materials.If you can’t source specific things but have space in your luggage, we could always use baby clothes, reading glasses, batteries, towels, bedding, first aid kits and solar charging headlamps/portable batteries. All funds raised will be put directly towards community development efforts. Follow the social media links below to stay up to date. We thank you for your contributions and extend our gratitude for your generousity and ongoing support!
Thank you to all who continue support Butterfly Space in various ways.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without your support! 😀

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