Moringa Miracles Ltd (MML) - Commercial Production of Moringa Oleifera

MML will produce moringa leaf powder, seed and oil to deliver a triple bottom line: commercial success, social and environmental impact.

Photo of Iain Church

Written by

I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Moringa Miracles Limited

Year founded

2012

Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $10k - $50k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 10,000 - 50,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • Malawi

Headquarters location: City

Blantyre

Location(s) of impact

Malawi - Chikwawa District - according to USAID, 97.7% of the population are either considered to be ultra-poor (31.9%) or poor (65.9%).

Website

www.moringamiraclesltd.com - under reconstruction

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

MML aims to sustainably break the aid cycle in the poorest country in the world by increasing: smallholder incomes, food security, environmental resilience and access to clean water.

To produce moringa oil, MML will partner with 62,000 smallholders and plant 3.4 million trees. MML's farm based operation will employ 100 staff, offering equal employment opportunities for women and youth. This allows a holistic approach to these issues to be adopted and means MML can deliver long term impact with a triple bottom line.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

MML’s innovative production methods, refined during trials, will revolutionise the moringa industry. Leaf powder will be produced on site and moringa seed and seed oil will be produced in partnership with 62,000 local smallholders; 50,000 managed by Catholic Relief Services and 12,000 managed by MML. 400,000 Trees have been gifted to these smallholders to date and a further 3 million trees will be donated by Q2 2018; MML will offer a route to market for the seed subsequently produced. This will increase: smallholder incomes by 61% p.a; food security; environmental resilience by reversing deforestation and provide 182 million litres of clean water pa. Combined with wage earnings (MML will directly employ 100), this will inject c.US$1.5 million into the local economy and c.US$1.2 million in taxation pa and lift over 300,000 Malawians out of extreme poverty from year 5 of operations. Finally, moringa awareness programmes will generate a domestic market for smallholders to service.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

MML is contributing to 13/17 of the UN’s SDGs and is supporting the Malawi Government’s Scale Up Nutrition special 1000-day programme. Thus far MML has:

Social impact:
• Identified 62,000 smallholders
• Donated 400,000 moringa trees
• Commenced $75,000 of smallholder seed purchases
• Introducing moringa to smallholder diets to reduce Vitamin A and iron deficiency

Environmental:
• Improving water catchment area management
• Partnered with African Parks to purchase moringa seed from their smallholders, offering a commercially viable alternative to subsistence poaching
• Reversing deforestation - supporting Malawi’s National Charcoal Strategy

MML will:
• Donate a further 3 million trees
• Inject US$1.5m pa into the local economy
• Lift over 300,000 Malawians out of extreme poverty from year 5
• Employ a further 80 staff
• Purify 182 million litres of water pa. (3lts daily for c.167,000 people)
• Cultivate 50 million moringa trees and be a carbon positive company

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

MML has applied for elements of its plan to be supported through grant funding (50%) to complement commercial investment (50%). However, if these grants are not forthcoming then MML will stage commercial investment and use operating profits to fully establish operations. Unusually for early stage companies, MML will be profit earning from year one and earned income alone will therefore support MML’s long term future.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Uniquely, with one cash injection MML will sustainably address 4 critical issues over the long term. MML's model can be replicated around the world; crucially moringa naturally occurs in the world's most under nourished regions - MML's model can provide countries with a domestic answer to domestic problems without the need for donor assistance.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

MML was founded by David Varndell, a Malawian entrepreneur, who was convinced that the only way to break the aid cycle in Malawi was through developing private enterprise. Through commercial moringa production he identified that a triple bottom line - commercial success, social and environmental impact - could be achieved.

Eighteen months after laying the foundations of MML through successful proof of concept trials, David was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. MML remains a family business and the motivation to succeed could not be stronger - MML will provide the cornerstone to David's legacy, has the potential to lift 300,000 Malawians out of extreme poverty within five years and will deliver lasting environmental impact. MML's management team will turn David's dream into a reality.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Other

Evaluation results

5 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 20%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 20%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 40%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 20%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 0%

2. Innovation

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 20%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 40%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 40%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Social and/or Environmental Impact

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 20%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 40%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 40%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

4. Financial sustainability

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 66.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 100%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

5. Potential to Scale / Replicability

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 20%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 20%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 60%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

6. Organizational Leadership

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 40%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 40%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 20%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

7. Potential for Creating Shared Value

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 40%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 60%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

Attachments (1)

MML Infographic (CRS).pdf

This infographic neatly encapsulates how MML's smallholder programme will work. Field officers use this infographic when engaging with smallholders to ensure that they understand all of the social, nutritional and environmental benefits of moringa production. Additionally, it enables field officers to demonstrate commercial alternatives to charcoal production as a source of income generation, which in turn will reduce deforestation and support Malawi's National Charcoal Strategy.

123 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Griet Daneels

Fantastic that you live a dream and make it work for so many local people to take their lifes in their OWN hand and be able to built up a future!

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you to all those who have taken the time to comment. Some really insightful thoughts which will be followed up and some collaboration opportunities too which is fantastic.

Photo of Natalie Cackett

Through their successful pilot scheme, MML have shown they have both the foundations and expertise to up-scale their operation to achieve their remarkable vision. Improving smallholder income, encouraging a nurturing mindset for the environment through reforestation and generating clean water for considerable numbers of Malawians offer opportunity for considerable positive social and environmental impact.

Whilst the benefits will be realised at a local level, I believe the implementation of a responsible business model, with people at its heart, will create conditions for future generations to be lifted from poverty. Fresh water, trusted business collaboration and employment opportunities will all allow aspirant smallholders an opportunity to make their lives, and those of their children better in the future.

Creating Shared Value - absolutely!

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you Natalie. We firmly believe that we can break moulds for the better. Our drive to place smallholders at the heart of what we do, empower them to contribute rather than simply receive and our proven production innovations that create zero waste will all combine to ensure the long term impacts we are aiming to deliver. Commercial success, social and environmental impact are not a pipedream they are very achievable goals which we will deliver.

Photo of Peter Ansell

I can but endorse the Moringa project which if successful will solve many of Malawi’s problems and eventually Africa’s problems too! Perhaps support could be obtained from the EU’s recently launched ‘Marshall Plan?

Photo of Iain Church

Many thanks for the suggestion, Peter. I fear we are too small for the EU's plan, but that is not to say that we cannot approach the financial institutions that they will support. Our intent is to become the largest and most innovative moringa producer in Africa and when we achieve this we really will be in a position to influence pan continental problems too - I cannot wait for those opportunities to arise.

Photo of Rachel Wiseman

I have worked in international development and environment for 20 years. There are two things I highly rate about this project: No. 1) It is a genuine sustainable development project blending poverty reduction, local enterprise and catchment management. MML contributes to many of the SDGs - 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8. This is exactly the direction of travel needed if we are to properly address both poverty and environmental challenges and create long-term change.  No. 2) It is a commercial enterprise, with the intent of improving the well-being of local people at the front and centre of the project. It is not an after-though 'tick-box exercise' to qualify for development funding! We need to see more projects like this on the development stage. I also note that Creating Shared Value is about good nutrition, access to clean water, and enhanced rural development. MML is an excellent fit, delivering this without need to bend the strategy in an attempt to fit the Prize criteria.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Rachel. From the outset MML has looked at ways it can disrupt traditional/established approaches to enduring issues. By consciously placing local people at the front and centre of what we do we believe we have a much better vehicle to deliver lasting change. The symbiotic relationship we are building with our smallholders is fundamental to this approach and together we will deliver against SDGs and national strategies for charcoal and deforestation.

Photo of John Jones

This looks like a project which has been very well thought through with a range of benefits for the people of Malawi. Most importantly, the project is fully sustainable and is designed to break the Aid cycle. It deserves to succeed.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, John. MML's objectives have evolved over time and great care has been taken to align impacts so that where possible they are complementary to one and other. Our support of the National Charcoal Strategy demonstrates this. Rather than simply tell smallholders not to cook with charcoal produced by cutting down trees, MML will provide access to efficient biochar cook-stoves. This means that moringa and other trees are left in place, water catchment areas are managed and deforestation is reversed. It is this type of holistic approach that will ultimately break the aid cycle.

Photo of Murray Smith

It's great to see a project that takes sustainability to its heart at all levels. This project has the capacity to nurture a community and it's environment while using a model that has a financially credible chance of long term success. The key part here will be getting the best possible start to enable the project to realise its full potential as quickly and as widely as possible - there can't be many grass roots projects with such an opportunity to make a real, long lasting impact.

Photo of Iain Church

Murray, one of the unusual things about MML is the fact that it is financially credible and it is this that secures the long term social and environmental impacts that we seek to deliver. MML is one of the few companies that can deliver a triple bottom line year on year and by doing so we will demonstrate how to break the aid cycle in the poorest country in the world.

Photo of Joao Louro

A great initiative in combating poverty and reliance on aid. It would be great if moringa production in Malawi was to eventually supersede tobacco production which is its greatest export revenue earner. Moringa ticks a lot of boxes and is a model that may be replicated in other countries with similar conditions, so is an effort worth supporting. Keep it up MML.

Photo of Iain Church

Joao, you raise a really interesting point for the future and one which is yet to be discussed in any detail - 'what comes after tobacco?'. Moringa could be a partial answer, not only in Malawi but across other countries too. Whilst commercially this could impact market prices, the spin off benefits of moringa production for poor rural communities would outweigh such an impact many times over.

Photo of Alyssa Jarvis

What a worth while cause, just wish more people had the courage to drive their vision for a better world. Will watch this project grow with high expectations. Al

Photo of Iain Church

In the case of MML the project ha some many direct and indirect benefits that the decision to pick up where Dave left off was easy. I am convinced that most people have the courage, but in the case of entrepreneurs they simply run out of time to deliver their ideas. MML is different - the triple bottom line that will be delivered means that we have three times the reasons to stay the course and be successful; hopefully we will match your expectations!

Photo of SRS :)

This initiative will really help create sustainable growth in rural communities in Malawi. More companies should be operating like this with the local people at the forefront and standing to benefit from the development opportunities. Empowering people will allow the social development required to break the poverty cycle and promote sustainable futures. I look forward to following your continued success.

Photo of Iain Church

I agree Sam, more companies should work like this. Equally, more donor monies should be focussed on drawing together best practice from the private and charitable sectors - this has to be the best way to ensuring self-sustaining and long term impacts are generated . We will do all we can to make MML a template for others to follow and by breaking the aid cycle and empowering smallholders we believe that we have the approach to achieve this.

Photo of Wayne

What a great initiative to link a commercial and economic opportunity for Malawian smallholders in diversifying their agricultural product by growing the Moringa tree whilst also tackling the significant deforestation issues in Malawi. This has such great potential to be a long term sustainable project but underpinning this success will be the through life investment from donors to provide you a robust foundation which endures. Good luck and I wish you all the best on this venture.

Photo of Iain Church

Many thanks, Wayne. One of the beauties about this project is that unlike many smallholder programmes that have gone before we will not require smallholders to grow moringa in place of existing crops - moringa can be planted along boundaries allowing smallholders to diversify at no risk. Sustainability is key and we look forward to making a real difference to the lives of those we impact.

Photo of James

What an inspiring story - this vision of improving long term economic security for the poorest people in Malawi is a quite unique proposition. The multiple strands of activity associated with this project truly promote a sustainable model - from the provision of clean drinking water to increased employment opportunities in addition to the nutritional qualities derived from the Moringa Oleifera tree itself.

Clearly a well thought through business plan that deserves every opportunity to succeed. Well done to those engaged in this exciting transitional venture.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, James. Combined the individual impacts that MML will generate will have the potential to literally transform lives - this sounds like a bold claim but consider just some of the impacts MML will deliver: reducing Vitamin A deficiency, selenium deficiency, illness through dirty drinking water, iron deficiency in nursing mothers, pressure on health care whilst increasing environmental resilience and smallholder incomes. Not only is the claim realistic it is eminently achievable.

Photo of Katie Howard

Sounds like a great project. I wish you all every success.

Photo of Iain Church

Thanks, Katie. The project has so many direct and indirect impacts that we really do have every chance of transforming people's lives. We will ensure success by working in partnership with our smallholders and together we will provide the template as to how to break the aid cycle in the poorest country in the world.

Photo of Deborah Weiss

What a great and hopeful project! Well done! This is an excellent scope of work with so much upside potential for all

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Deborah. The upsides are potentially game changing for a significant number of Malawians - the idea is simple, the impacts huge and the costs low - together we hope that these elements combine to deliver the long term success of MML and the difference we want to make.

Photo of Sandra Ansell

What an amazing project with so many benefits on so many levels. I wish you every success.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Sandra. MML really does provide a multi-layered set of impacts - the reach of these could stretch worldwide if MML is taken as a blueprint for others to follow.

Photo of Allison Still

An amazing sounding project with a win win situation, looking forward to hearing more about it in the future. Congratulations and good luck.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Allison. Basing rural development and environmental impact on a win-win basis is so important; it is the way in which communities will be empowered to flourish in the future. I look forward to being able to provide updates about MML's successes in the future as we begin to realise our goals.

Photo of Alan Eachus

My experience as a landscape architect with 30 years in practice tells me that any scheme based on the planting of trees such as Moringa oleifera has the potential to provide benefits to the community on a number fronts - socially, environmentally and economically. It has the added advantage of being under the control of the local community thus empowering them to improve their own future. I wish the project every success.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you for your comment Alan. Buy in from the smallholders that we work with is fundamental to everything we do. Empowering smallholders and providing them the means to better manage their environment - for example water catchment areas - underpins our unerring determination to break the aid cycle in the region of Malawi where we work.

Photo of Keith Bevis

This project is impressive as it works at so many levels. Congratulations on developing a project around versatile natural resource, the Moringa tree. The socio-economic effects of working in this way with small holders shows the project has been extremely well thought through. The by products of reversed deforestation, water treatment and the long term improvements in public health are wonderful bonuses. What is also clear it that you have a sufficient footprint in Malawi to make the project expansion viable. I wish you every success with the venture.

Eur Ing Dr Keith Bevis CEng MIET

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Keith. Our footprint in Malawi means that we have more than enough capacity to meet any commercial demands within the growing moringa market. However, crucially, the majority of the impacts MML will deliver are not beholden on sales alone - as our partner Catholic Relief Services observed - "worst case smallholders will have 40 moringa trees - that alone will solve their Vitamin A deficiency and allow them to purify their water". The project is therefore exceptionally resilient and will be well placed to generate positive impact for the long term.

Photo of Juliette Bevis

What an incredible plant, so many uses and benefits to the human race. This project ticks all the boxes, enormous benefits for individuals, the wider community and a positive environmental impact. MML require a relatively small investment that will see a rapid return, and deliver long term benefits to communities in Malawi, and in the future across other countries. It is proven that projects such as this, that give autonomy to the individuals, have a high success rate and longevity. Your enthusiasm for change is inspiring.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Juliette. One plant: incredible impact. In terms of investment projects like MML provide a far better $:impact ratio than any donor based programme, not least as commercial enterprises will outlast donor programmes in the majority of cases. Coupled to this is providing autonomy to smallholders and creating a symbiotic, rather than dependent, relationship that builds for the future. It really is not hard to be enthusiastic about this project and the change that it can bring - all we need to do now is deliver that change!

Photo of Rory Gillett

This Moringa project would improve many Malawian people's lives. Not only this, it's an environmentally sound product and all parts of the plant can be used - happy days! Good luck, guys.

Photo of Iain Church

Thanks, Rory. This project is one of the very few I have ever come across that does not produce any waste due to the various uses of moringa. Added to this is the fact that MML will be a carbon positive company with over 53 million trees under cultivation - when we partner with a carbon offsetting programme smallholders will have an additional income source to complement income generated through seed sales.

Photo of Tim

What an amazing project, the social and environmental impact this will have is unbelievable. You should feel very proud in supporting the local Malawians and improving the quality of life for so many.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Tim. This project never ceases to amaze me with the various ways in which it can generate positive impact.  The numbers of potential beneficiaries are huge - for example by reducing Vitamin A deficiency and waterborne illness within the district where we predominantly work we reduce pressure on an overstretched healthcare system meaning more accessible care for the wider population.

Photo of Nada

This is what the world needs more of. I read about this with great interest and I am thoroughly impressed with the approach MML is taking. Supporting and encouraging local Malawians is definitely a move in the right direction. May this inspire other countries to think local, too. I look forward to reading about your success.

Photo of Iain Church

You are right, Nada. Thinking local is something often completely overlooked when seeking to address long standing issues yet is one of the most effective ways of generating solutions. Our belief that moringa production can become a Malawian grown solution to Malawian problems such as Vitamin A deficiency is absolute as is our conviction that we can become a blueprint for others to follow.

Photo of Damian

I really like the approach that MML are taking. They are workong within, and alongside, the community to privide an income stream and alao tackle environmental challenges in line with Malawi governmental goals. One imvestment, several positive outcomes. I wisb you the best of luck.

Photo of Iain Church

We believe that the only way to make projects such as ours work is to build a symbiotic relationship with the smallholders and wider community. By doing so we will build a long term future for MML and secure the long term improvement that the communities we work with desperately need.

Photo of Anna Bond

Love Malawi and love this initiative. Innovative, sustainable and supporting local people. I'll love forward to hearing about your successes. Good luck!

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Anna. We are convinced that MML will be held up as an example of how commercial success and social impact can be complementary and not mutually exclusive. We look forward to being able update everyone on a successful 2018 and beyond.

Photo of Alexa

I really like the sound of this project for it's wide ranging positive impact and sustainability. Increasing smallholder incomes, food security, environmental resilience and access to clean water are all crucial areas of development: enabling local Malawians to improve their quality of life and become independent of aid in the long term future.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Alexa. Breaking the aid cycle in Malawi is so important. Smallholders are now rightly cautious about any project promising significant benefits, but slowly we have started to convince those we work with that by working together we can assure each others futures. We are currently planting 3 million moringa trees with our smallholders and if we could grow them on smallholder enthusiasm alone then we would have a lot of healthy trees! Economic security, food security and being independent of donor aid is an end state that our smallholders are eager to achieve, its up to MML now to make this happen.

Photo of Lana Royle

Fantastic initiative by MML! Chikwawa, especially, needs all the support they can at the moment (just open this link to read about some of the hardships the locals there have to endure at the moment - http://mwnation.com/horrors-prolonged-blackouts/). Any injection of cash into the local community will be beneficial and MML’s proposal of $1.5 pa will go a long way in helping to combat poverty in the region. Best of luck MML and we will be following your progress with great excitement.

Photo of Iain Church

Hi Lana, the injection of US$1.5 million per annum into the local economy from year 5 of operations will go a long way towards increasing resilience in the face of some of the day-day struggles Malawians face. This coupled with meaningful nutritional and environmental impact will mean that MML's target of lifting 300,000 Malawians out of extreme poverty is a wholly realistic objective.

Photo of Kelly Ferrara

Hi Iain! I'm so glad Laura shared this link. I am enthralled by the work you are doing and so impressed to see the family vision coming to life. What a wonderful contribution you are making -- on so many levels. Your tenacity and vision will bring you great success. You have my best wishes for continued success, and I'll continue to cheer you on from St. Louis, Missouri.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you for taking the time to comment Kelly. This project has the capacity to generate impact on so many levels, the biggest will be when we can hold MML up as a blue print of others to follow when breaking aid cycles elsewhere in the world.  We will keep you posted as to how we progress and look forward to being able to share a success story with you in the not too distant future.

Photo of Richard Carpenter

Wow, this project ticks so many boxes. Having worked with soils in Malawi I know how nutrient deficient they can be, and how this impacts health. In particular, selenium deficiency is a huge problem, so a project cultivating such a large amount of selenium rich trees could make a huge difference to people’s lives. Great stuff, keep up the good work!

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you for mentioning selenium, Richard. Along with Vitamin A deficiency, selenium deficiency (leading to a weakening of the heart) is another key issue that moringa consumption can address. By working with our partners - Catholic Relief Services in particular - we will ensure that the benefits of moringa are fully understood by the wider population in southern Malawi. Solving serious health issues at meal times has to be a better approach than treating the symptoms with expensive drugs.

Photo of Old Friend

I adore Malawi and its people. Anything that could make their lives better is a a miracle and this looks like just the project to do that - well done and keep up the hard work.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Jo. This project will definitely improve lives for the better and not just for the smallholders we work with - end users of moringa benefit and as a carbon positive company, MML's operations are ultimately good for everyone!

Photo of Camilla Eatwell

I am so impressed and inspired to read about Dave’s initiative and vision. What a great legacy to leave behind! I really hope that it is a success and can be modeled in other countries too. We discovered the incredible benefits of this amazing tree not so long ago in Papua New Guinea. We are hoping to grow some in our garden for the benefit of our village.

Photo of Iain Church

Camilla, if you need any assistance with your plans please let me know - I'd be more than happy to help. Dave was a visionary and given the potential of MML it is easy to buy into his vision and hence why we are so single minded in our efforts to turn his vision into a reality.

Photo of Georgina Hitchins

To develop a product and social initiative that will have such a positive impact on the environment and people of Malawi is truly inspiring! The MML template for empowering smallholders to achieve economic independence whilst reversing deforestation and improving water supplies is such an exciting prospect for other counties too.

Photo of Iain Church

Georgina, the moringa tree is truly remarkable but even so its true potential is yet to be realised. MML will demonstrate the significant impacts that moringa can generate and what can be achieved by placing social impact at the core of a business model. Once refined our template has the potential to change lives around the world.

Photo of Lauren Hill

A brilliant initiative run by passionate and committed founders for the betterment of their fellow countrymen. Keep up the great work and break the cycle of poverty in beautiful Malawi.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Lauren. The ripples we can cause by breaking the aid cycle in Malawi will reach far and wide. MML's potential to provide a template for others to follow means that impact could be felt across the developing world, generating domestic solutions to domestic problems and commercially empowering people. Malawi deserves the right kind of boost and MML intends to show how this boost should be delivered.

Photo of Caroline Powell

This sounds like a fantastic project and just what Malawi needs. The people are hard working and want to work for themselves for a better future. The fact that the triple gains will be seen so early will only inspire them further. The district of Chikwawa is crying out for sustainable help like this. All the very best.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Caroline. Having seen various donor initiatives continually crumble once direct support ends we are convinced that our approach is what will bring the lasting impact that Chikwawa needs. By harnessing the drive and determination of smallholders MML will simply provide the key to allow Malawians to unlock a better future.

Photo of Connie Stamp

This sounds like a fantastic project allowing Malawians to develop and sustain a better future. Exciting times.

Photo of Iain Church

Exciting times for sure - as our first year of full scale production, 2018 is going to be a huge year for MML. we can not wait to see what the future brings!

Photo of Helen Rhian

With a proven and pragmatic approach that has already demonstrated great results in all areas that the Changemakers prize is targeting, I really hope that MML succeeds in achieving funding for this important next step in scaling up the foundation, for the benefit of all Malawians.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Helen. The results we have generated to date clearly show that our model works and that long term impacts we wish to have are eminently achievable. A boost in investment will only serve to strengthen this position and afford us the opportunity to scale operations to impact greater numbers of Malawians.

Photo of Neil Witcombe

A fantastic initiative that works on so many levels it has to succeed. Very few ventures in my experience have the benefits of this one. Local communities, the environment, the farmers themselves, and consumers all benefit - what a great combination.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Neil. One of the reasons why I am so invested in this project is that there are literally no downsides. We are water efficient, will ultimately be solar powered and all production by products can be re-used: biomass for animal feed, crushed seed for water purification, crushed seed/water for organic fertiliser. Coupled with the social and environmental impacts that will be generated and MML will deliver positive benefits in spades.

Photo of Alastair Mckechnie

Iain this project is inspiring on many levels, not just for the legacy that it continues. The product is sustainable and environmentally hugely positive. Secondly, it is socially positive it not only helps native Malawians survive day to day, but it rejuvenates their environment. Finally, the product if, even half as nutritionally beneficial as the research suggests, needs to be used by many more people across the planet so the growth potential in all three areas is enormous. Love it.

Photo of Iain Church

Thanks, Al. What is noticeable through the interactions that this project generates is the ease at which people judge the actions of others. There is a vicious cycle of food insecurity, ultra-poverty leading to deforestation for charcoal production for income generation leads to the degradation of water catchment areas and ultimately increases the potential of flooding. Taken as a whole this is clearly a counter-intuitive thing to do, but Malawians live for tomorrow, not next week or next month or even next year. Not only will MML reverse this process for the long term, but smallholders will have the opportunity to co-own the process through a partnership with MML. The potential to replicate this approach is huge and the wider impact created far reaching.

Photo of Natalie Thoms

This is an incredibly impressive and inspiring project which encompasses rural development, water purification and reversal of deforestation all for the long term with just one round of funding. It is easy to see the potential of MML to do something groundbreaking, unique and environmentally positive. Well done.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you Natalie. We really do believe that we are on the cusp of doing something ground breaking - the fact we can do this and deliver a triple bottom line of rural development, social impact and environmental impact makes the project all the more exciting to be part of.

Photo of Mouhamadou Moustapha Seck

Really interesting work.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you - the project never ceases to amaze me from smallholder enthusiasm to potential collaborations with the likes of Wits University in South Africa; we really do have the opportunity to do something special.

Photo of Mouhamadou Moustapha Seck

And you can count on all the support. For anything I can be useful, just call me. Congratulations.

Photo of Tristan

This concept seems to me to be a template that can be copied in many areas across Africa (and the wider developing world). It avoids many of the barriers to change for these communities e.g. large infrastructure investment, change traditional practises, novel and complex technology etc. It also has no associated negative impacts on the environment - in fact there are positives outcomes. I like this approach as it builds in resilience for these communities and allows them to participate properly in a global market rather than other 'sticky plaster' hand-out solutions that can cause dependancy and are not cost effective. Commerce and markets lead to organic community development and long term self-sustainment - this is exactly what aid should be aiming for. This concept delivers this sensibly and pragmatically and should be fully supported.

Photo of Iain Church

You are right, Tristan, building resilience is key. The fact that MML will not only provide incomes to 62,000 smallholders, but will also manage water catchment areas to prevent large scale erosion will increase resilience. Food security will be enhanced and smallholders commercially incentivised not to cut down trees. Over time by offering smallholders a real, Fairtrade, opportunity to participate in a global market, sticky plaster of hand-out solutions can become a thing of the past.

Photo of Lee

Having lived, worked and breathed Africa for 14+ years (Uganda, Zambia and Malawi) I feel very excited about the prospect of a project such as this and the exciting opportunities Moringa could offer the people of Malawi. Malawis one of the most beautiful countries I have been too and the people are incredible however it is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an ever increasing population, it has a landscape mostly devoid of trees, a tourism industry struggling to compete with its neighbouring countries, an expansive lake with declining fish populations that the country is so dependent upon and it is a country in desperate need of economic support through enterprises such as this (not just AID) - there are so many positives to this fantastic project - good luck.

Photo of Iain Church

You make some insightful observations, Lee. Malawi struggles on a number of fronts and the ever expanding population for a country of its size is only serving to add to those difficulties. What is key is looking inwards to solve some of the issues faced and seek Malawian grown solutions to a Malawian problems; MML will deliver Malawian grown solutions to Malawian problems such as Vitamin A deficiency for the long term.

Photo of Nigel Marsh

It is hard not to be impressed and inspired by this project. The potential for rural development and the resulting social impact it should have is truly remarkable. The water purification element of this project is for me one of its most appealing aspects and something which sets it apart from many other initiatives. This will undoubtedly improve the lives of many in Malawi and hopefully prove the concept for possible roll out in other countries where similar conditions exist. I will maintain a keen interest in progress and keep my fingers crossed that it meets the success it richly deserves. Best of luck to all those involved.

Photo of Iain Church

Many thanks, Nigel. Ultimately we will purify 182,000,000 litres of water per annum and this amount can be increased irrespective of MML's oil sales as smallholders will be able to use their own excess seed to purify more water. In a region where 45% of rural illness is caused by dirty water this impact alone could have far reaching benefits.

Photo of David George

The Moringa tree is easy to grow from seed or vegetative cuttings. The flowers and seeds appear in the first season. leaves and stems can be harvested seven times in a year. Fruits are possible in the first year. All parts of the tree provide food or oil from the seeds. A by product of pressing the seeds for oil is a cake that can be used to purify water. Cultivation of the tree offers significant benefits in a relatively short time once the trees are planted. MML's "green" project to grow the tree would enhance the nutrition and water supply for Malawans, giving a chance for a better quality of life.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, David. There is no doubt that a significant number of Malawians will have the opportunity for a better quality of life as a result of MML's activities. What is perhaps more exciting is the potential the project has in being replicated across other areas of the developing world as a means to combat malnutrition and illness caused by dirty drinking water.

Photo of Adrian

What n amazing vision by David, and great to see that the family are continuing his legacy. I am taken by the amount of Malawians that this will help, and in such a relatively short timescale. This is down to the commitment and belief of the people that are continuing David's vision, they really do care - Great to see. To provide that help, significantly lift the population out of poverty, be a 'green' company and significantly invest in the population, certainly gets my vote.

Well done.

Photo of Iain Church

Adrian, David was indeed a visionary - he was so excited about the potential of MML that there is no way we are not going to deliver on his dream. The fact we can do this and deliver a triple bottom line makes the project all the more worthwhile. Crucially, this project is replicable across moringa growing regions worldwide and could provide the basis for locally grown solutions to some key nutritional and developmental issues.

Photo of Chris

This is a fantastic enterprise! It has already proven itself as a sustainable, environmentally friendly and locally beneficial project. The best thing about this type of initiative, is that for a comparatively small investment, it reaches out to and has a sustainable impact on so many people and communities. This really is teaching the man to fish! Great stuff!

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Chris. The teach a man to fish analogy is fundamental to breaking the aid cycle in Malawi (and other places). MML will provide the framework within which smallholders can thrive and in doing so deliver commercial success, rural development, and social and environmental impact. In terms of value for money, the $ to impact ratio is far beyond anything that can be delivered by traditional donor aid...teach a man to fish...

Photo of Charlie Crowe

A great initiative - very wide benefit (water, social, economic) from a single investment, and most importantly is sustainable. Best of luck!

Photo of Iain Church

Thanks, Charlie. Small investment, significant sustainable triple bottom line impact. Simple!

Photo of Victoria Tyson

Such an empowering project, resourcing within small rural communities to develop credible environmental, social and economic benefits. Of particular interest to me is the impact that moringa can have on water management, water purification and nutrition when properly farmed and processed. I wish you the very best of luck in your family business.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Victoria. I think that empowering is the ideal word for this project. MML will work with partner organisations to ensure that smallholders and the wider population understand the full range of benefits that moringa can bring - particularly with respect to reforestation, catchment management and water purification. By generating a domestic market for moringa, MML will create an additional source of revenue for smallholders to exploit.

Photo of Caroline Maddocks

This is a simple idea that promises to deliver on the key priorities for the environment. Namely it will support and develop jobs, wellbeing and sled worth amongst the local population in addition to creating valuable and long term benefits for the environment. I'm hard pressed to visualise another project that could deliver sustainable progress on so many fronts. The integrity of the family members who are so determined to deliver on the founder's intentions rings out of the proposal. It is clear that they believe that they have an ethical and moral responsibility to facilitating the development of the local populace and the environment and personally if I had the money I'd invest

Photo of Iain Church

One of the most compelling elements of our plan is the fact that none of the nutritional or water orientated benefits are dependent on the commercial success of MML. Thank you for you offer of investment, Caroline, I could not think of a better company to invest in (if you had the money)!

Photo of Mel Patterson

Helping the community to help themselves. It's a bit like inventing the self licking ice cream. What a great project; I hope it gets the support it deserves.

Photo of Iain Church

Thanks, Mel. The direct and indirect benefits to the local community are significant. Hopefully what makes this project different is the symbiotic relationship between local communities and a private company - by working together we can ensure mutual benefit for the long term.

Photo of Jayne Lyons

I love that this is obviously thinking long term sustainability and I can’t wait to see what th future holds!!

Photo of Iain Church

Hopefully the future sees us as the example for others to follow, Jayne! Long term thinking is key across all of the areas we touch on - commercial success, rural development, nutrition and water purification - simple ideas with major impact.

Photo of S Ash

This is a really exciting project and just goes to show how that relatively simple solutions can have a transformative effect. It is obvious that the project will have immediate positive nutritional and economic impact but what is perhaps even more impressive is that this can be done in an environmentally sustainable way and being about longer term social transformation. Excellent!

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Simon. Transformational change is often misused when describing projects, but in this case the potential to generate transformation across a number of areas is very real. The planting of 53 million trees will allow the management of water catchment areas and reverse years of deforestation and the introduction of moringa to rural diets could literally end Vitamin A deficiency. Exciting times!

Photo of Ben Hawkins

A sustainable project, not only in environmental terms, but also in terms of prosperity and lifting people out of poverty, which offers significant benefits reaching beyond first-order impacts and spreading the investment far and wide for local and regional prosperity.

It is delightful to see the drive and enthusiasm behind such a project that can have a real and tangible effect to those who need it the most.

This is a worthy project which gains my unreserved support.

Ben Hawkins CEng MIET

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Ben. Sustainability is key for us. Too many projects in the past focus on a single cash crop and when a market fails the smallholders suffer. Moringa will not only provide a source of income for smallholders but also significantly reduce food security concerns - as you note, the far reaching benefits of this project will be significant.

Photo of PESTLEWeb England

I have been hugely impressed by this project from the outset. Not only is it hugely worthwhile for local communities - but it is also being conducted with energy, integrity and enthusiasm by the founder Iain Church. I unconditionally support this project. Dr Rob Collins, Oxford, England

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Rob. To prove my integrity I cannot claim to be MML's founder, but I am going to deliver on the founder's dream - we will establish a company that delivers a triple bottom line - commercial success, social impact and environmental impact. Best foot forward...

Photo of Megan O'Brien

As an entrepreneur, I truly appreciate the strategic approach to this venture, it's focus on economic, environmental and social change. This minimal investment has the potential to positively impact so many lives and communities and improve lives exponentially while not only being environmentally responsible, but environmental STEWARDS. Looking forward to seeing the continued impact!

Photo of Iain Church

Coming from another entrepreneur that means a lot, Megan. We love the fact that we can not only improve livelihoods but also, as you say, become environmental stewards, which in turn will further secure livelihoods through water catchment management. Additionally, as a carbon positive company we have the potential to benefit far more people than those we directly interact with.

Photo of Damian Walker

The simple way to raise people out of grinding poverty is to 'buy their stuff'. This project is a perfect example of a social enterprise that delivers for the 300,000 smallholders and the local environment. It is also of note that funding is only required in the initial stage, and not through the life cycle of the project due to its commercial viability. A potential success story in the making that can be exported and repeated in other African countries. Best of luck!

Photo of Iain Church

Thanks Damian, we are wholly focussed on making MML an example for others to follow. If we can show that commercial viability after a single round of funding is achievable then we might begin to change the way in which investors and donors look to support new business across developing countries. Our impact to investment ratio will hopefully make people sit up and take note!

Photo of Boz Zamboni

This is such an inspiring project!

If ever an ancient proverb was applicable, that of teaching someone to fish meaning feeding them for life, this surely has to be it!
This ‘business’ model could also be applied further afield, outside Malawi, owing to the properties of this fantastic plant as well as the clearly passionate and highly efficient team behind this project...

Furthermore, it is refreshing to learn of a social enterprise which provides such great ‘value for money’ - positively impacting such a huge number of people with a relatively small financial investment...

I truly wish you all the very best!

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you Boz, you're right, by training the 62,000 smallholders that we partner with we will not only increase moringa consumption (reducing Vitamin A deficiency in a region where 45% of children suffer stunted growth) but we will offer a real opportunity to generate sustainable income. Moringa grows across the developing world, so there is no reason why this model can not be used to solve significant nutrition issues globally.

Photo of Jo Blood

I love the concept that this will lead to people being lifted out of extreme poverty with a long term commercial plan rather than solving immediate need. This will provide a sustainable income for life and will have knock on benefits for generations to come.

Photo of Iain Church

Thanks Jo, sadly planning for the long term is something that simply does not happen enough in Malawi - whether projects are locally or donor driven. By changing this mind set we aim to deliver tangible benefits to thousands of Malawians and deliver a commercially successful company that lasts well beyond the single round of funding that it requires.

Photo of Trilochan Malla

Being a development practitioner, it's always pleasing to read about such social ventures with the potential to make real impacts. The project resonates with similar but very early stage initiatives being promoted in Nepal which focus on promoting plantation and marketing of herbal/medicinal plants originating and indigenous to himalayan region mainly the Karnali zone.

Photo of Iain Church

Hi Trilochan, I am really pleased that our business model resonates with ventures being promoted in Nepal, not least as it shows the model to be a template that will work in other regions of the world.  If we can convince increasing numbers of donor interventions to support this kind of activity aid cycles will be broken across the developing world.

Photo of Philip Hammond

Malawi is such a great country. One that is massively underrepresented on the world stage, so it’s great to see a Malawian based firm take centre stage whilst supporting the local economy. It’s good to hear that locals will get a chance to benefit directly, and best of all, you are putting the environment at the forefront of your proposal. Good luck for the future. This will mean so much to so many.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you for your support Philip. You are right - Malawi is under represented on so many fronts. Whilst our company's approach is not going to propel Malawi into the limelight it is going to provide a beacon for others to follow - particularly through our efforts to link commercial success, environmental impact and provision of clean water.

Photo of Ibrahim Nathanie

Pretty impressive stuff and will really help reduce the poverty levels in Chikhwawa. It will also encourage the farmers to move away from subsistence farming and will educate them about different farming techniques.
well done Ian.

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Ibrahim. 2018 is going to be a huge year for us as we build on initial sales during this quarter; we anticipate that we will begin to deliver tangible benefits across Chikwawa, not least by exposing smallholders to ways they can move away from subsistence farming.

Photo of Mohamed Tayub

What a fantastic project! I believe that this project encapsulates what is truly required in many African countries. Malawians would really benefit from the project and its something that enhances the skills of local Malawians as well as pushes them out of the poverty cycle! Good luck!

Photo of Iain Church

Thanks Mohamed. We firmly believe that by enhancing smallholder skills we can build a long term solution to a range of associated rural development issues. The smallholders and our partner organisations are really enthusiastic and we look forward to turning this dream into a reality.

Photo of Robert Hickinbotham

What an exciting prospect. MML seem to be combining an intelligent commercial strategy with genuine social and environmental responsibilities. Add this to a seemingly genuine drive to improve the long term prospects of Malawians this project should be applauded. Good luck!

Photo of Iain Church

Thank you, Robert. We are convinced that our approach will break the aid cycle in Malawi and by delivering a triple bottom line we aim to become a template for others in the developing world to follow.