Partner with farmers in Malawi to save their families from starvation
£6,500 raised
43% of £15k goal
44 contributors
165 Days left

Increasing disasters such as Cyclone Idai are further threatening the already fragile food situation in Malawi, leaving many farmers unable to provide food for their families - increasing droughts and unreliable rain make it very difficult to harvest, and can drive farmers to use land close to rivers, more at risk from flooding. 

But you can partner with farmers in Malawi to enable them to provide food for their families in spite of increasing disasters by piloting a solar pump for their crops that they can build without external funding 

Eagles Relief and Development Programme 'Eagles' have been working with the most vulnerable in Malawi since 2003 (

People think hunger will end through big projects and lots of money. We’ve seen that doesn’t work.

We know it can end through farmers, given the opportunity to use their creativity, who take responsibility to find their own solutions; and you: people who respect and treat them with dignity, believing that they can bring lasting change in their own lives. By giving, you become part of something that could save the lives of millions.  

What is the problem?

Hunger is a devastating issue in Malawi. This year, 3.3 million Malawians will are at risk of starvation. 37% of children under 5 are chronically malnourished. 

Irrigation is one of the best solutions as it gives a reliable water supply and enables a second harvest per year. However, recent research, including the views of farmers, has identified problems that prevent irrigation projects providing a lasting solution:

  • most methods of irrigation are too expensive for farmers, leaving them dependent on outside help or without anything
  • many irrigation projects only last while the organisation who ran the project stays as they require external maintenance
  • many methods, such as treadle pumps, are unable to be used by the most vulnerable community members due to the high levels of physical effort to use them, including the sick, the elderly, those who are differently-abled and pregnant women

What is our solution?

Our approach to solar rope pumps meet all of these challenges, able to be built and maintained without external funding and used by the most vulnerable.

Through a process of community-led design, our pilot volunteers will build solar rope-pumps without physical external inputs, using locally-available materials and upgrading them to solar when they have the money through village savings groups. They will be able to harvest twice a year, overcoming challenges of drought and unreliable rainfall in preparing for the regular harvest and giving access to a second harvest when typically there is not enough rain. We will fully build their capacity for its maintenance and replication, ensuring sustainability.

In this two-year pilot, we want to prove that solar rope-pumps are an effective and sustainable way to increase food security, that they reach the most vulnerable and require minimal external funding. This evidence is vital to enable us to advocate to government, NGOs and private investors to replicate the approach, potentially catalysing change for millions of small-holder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa and other areas facing similar challenges.

Who will benefit?

We hope this approach will improve the lives of millions after we demonstrate that communities can build rope pumps using locally available materials and upgrade them to solar through savings groups, effectively improving food security without external funding. We will advocate to governments, organisations implementing irrigation projects and donors to incorporate this approach into their policies and practices, as well as seeing it spread itself through local networks. Online, all learning from the project will be widely disseminated and the designs made freely available. Without the need for external funding, the potential reach of this approach is huge

The first to benefit will be the volunteer pilot farmers and their families, roughly 500 people who live in extreme poverty, below $1.90 a day.  At least 10% will be those who would struggle with the physical effort required by other methods of irrigation: those who are differently-abled, sick, pregnant, elderly etc. The pilot village is in Chikwawa, a southern district that is particularly vulnerable to droughts. Currently those who cannot irrigate are regularly not able to grow enough food to feed themselves throughout the year and face starvation.

Why will it work?

Our innovative approach is founded on in-depth research, including a literature review, technical analysis & consultation with experts. Following an analysis of many irrigation methods, solar rope-pumps were identified as the most effective It builds on proven practices, such as the rope-pump and Eagles’ 15 years of experience facilitating behaviour change and partnering with the government for sustainability.

Our approach is more effective and sustainable than other options, not only due to the low costs but due to its high potential for local ownership, which will ensure lasting change.

We are well placed to carry out this pilot due to our 15 years’ experience with communities and local government and technical expertise in key areas, including village savings and loans groups and the technical design and implementation of solar and irrigation technologies. 

The funding will cover: materials for building the prototype; transport to and from the village for trainings and monitoring visits; materials for trainings; monitoring tools (eg. equipment for testing pumping rates/ ground water recharge); hand borehole driller that communities can pass around to provide the water source; necessary staff salaries so they can give time to the project; demonstration day so we can encourage others to replicate

Please email with any questions, or if you would like to see a more detailed budget of exactly what the money is being used for.


See all activity44


Subscribe to receive updates by email.


People just like you

People just like you have raised $194,000,000+ for causes they and their friends care about.

Start your own campaign
Recent contributions