Sustainable agriculture is a global challenge that encompasses issues of hunger, water use, and environmental degradation. Many communities cannot afford to add elements of sustainability to their subsistence farming. In the Spring 2021 semester, the Mtuli Foundation joined GreenLight Solutions Foundation and worked with our team of Solutioneers to find practical solutions for these communities.

The Mtuli Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in the Karonga District of Malawi, located in southeast Africa. Specifically, the Mtuli Foundation is located in a rural community in the northwestern part of Malawi. The foundation’s goal is to develop sustainable projects that empower local communities and schools by helping them economically, environmentally, and socially. Mtuli Foundation’s main question for our GreenLight Solutions team was: How could they make their agricultural and irrigation systems more sustainable? How could they use this to engage the community? In response to this, the team of Solutioneers ultimately decided to create two goals: one was to research sustainable agriculture and irrigation practices, while the other was to expand Mtuli Foundation’s social network.

To complete our first goal, Rylee Richardson and Katie Pascavis worked on researching agricultural practices and irrigation systems. From this research, they put together two virtual guides for the Malawi community to refer to during workshops and in local schools. The first guide is strictly based on scientific & sustainable practices and different modifications to current systems to increase their efficiency. The second is filled with various ways to engage the youth in the community and get them excited about these topics. Some of these included different experiments the students could use to learn about farming in class.

Our Solutioneers’ second goal was to compile a list of fifty organizations, grants, and resources that could potentially benefit the Mtuli Foundation and then contact thirty of them on behalf of the partnership with the Foundation. This was an ambitious goal, and throughout the project, our students Nathan Schurter and Erin Trauntvein had to quantify the ability to reach this goal. By the end of the project, our students created a list of thirty-four organizations that could become involved with the Mtuli Foundation’s mission. From there, twenty-nine of those organizations were contacted. The remaining five resources were funding applications. Within the first two weeks of initial contact, eight of those organizations had scheduled a meeting with the Executive Director of Mtuli Foundation, Robert Mhango.

Mtuli Foundation was the first-ever international project partner that GreenLight Solutions has had. GreenLight Solutions and the Solutioneers team are excited to know that the foundation can use what our team has delivered to help the community feed themselves while also highlighting the work that they are doing sustainably. The Mtuli Foundation can utilize the provided outreach resources to collect more funding, social support and help achieve their goals. Our team of Solutioneers here at GreenLight Solutions is also coming away from this project with new perspectives and experiences working with international partners. We can’t wait to see how the Mtuli Foundation impacts this community and how it will continue to grow.

If you felt at all inspired by this project, our team at GreenLight Solutions invites you to donate to their current running campaign to raise funds to purchase seeds for farming.

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