Update on the plans of the Chauncy Maples Malawi Trust (CMMT) to improve health care in villages on the shores of Lake Malawi.

1st June 2017

As you may be aware the Trustees of the CMMT were required by the Charity Commission to declare a ‘failed appeal’ when it became clear that the technical and financial problems with renovating the hull of the Chauncy Maples vessel and the associated commercial issues became insuperable.

The formal Charity Commission process to allow us to use the funds for our wider health objectives has taken much longer than we expected but I am pleased to say that we now have over £400,000 to improve health services in lakeside villages. Because the process has taken so long we have reduced our overheads to the bare minimum in order to preserve the funds – buying a few hours of accountancy or administrative time when necessary.

We have been seeking a partner with the capacity to put our aims into action and after considerable research and due diligence, we have established a partnership with EMMS International, an Edinburgh based charity (registered no SC032327), which has been in existence in various forms since 1841 and counted Dr Livingstone, who travelled extensively in the area of Lake Malawi, as one of its early members. EMMS International has strong links with Malawi and with organisations in Malawi which have proved themselves capable of managing health projects there.

So CMMT has decided to invest our funds in the Nyanja Project which EMMS has planned with our objectives in mind and which, over the next 18 months, will:

  • Provide 3 ambulances to improve access to hospital for patients living in lakeside villages in 3 north west Lake Malawi districts: Karonga, Rumphi and Nkhata Bay.
  • Purchase an ambulance boat to shorten the present 3 hour boat journey for patients from the Tcharo area – particularly maternity patients.
  • Renovate four health centres and a health post which are in poor condition: some, for example, have no running water and most need additional equipment.
  • Support the training of 21 women from lakeside villages to become healthcare staff and return to their villages to improve clinic staffing levels.

These measures will improve health facilities for 50,000 people and access for 200,000 and we believe are an excellent alternative use of the remainder of the donated funds and in many ways meet the original health objectives of the charity.

The first step will be the purchase of ambulances and ambulance boat by August to be followed by the refurbishment of clinics and the recruitment of trainees. We will monitor the project to ensure the funds are used effectively and you will be able to follow progress on the EMMS website.

If you would like further information about EMMS please contact Tony Gaston, Head of Key Relationships, at tony.gaston@emms.org

Once we are confident that the ongoing elements of the project are well underway, we will make plans to wind up the Chauncy Maples Malawi Trust.

Meanwhile, you might also wish to be aware that we have also made a one-off donation of £10,000 to a charity called Ripple Africa for the renovation of another lakeside clinic. The new treatment room will provide better and extended facilities for a number of clinics including: vaccination and immunisation, nutrition support, counselling, contraception and chemotherapy.

We are grateful to all those who have supported us over the years. I am sure that you will share our relief that we have finally been able to have a positive impact on the health of some of Malawi’s most vulnerable lakeshore communities.

Colin Hayton
Chair of Trustees