The work to develop the agricultural land at the Samaritan Trust site near Blantyre has begun. The Foundation has installed a rain gauge to gather accurate rainfall data for the site and has also begun to plant a sisal fence around the site as added security.
We have begun to establish a number of demonstration trial plots. These have been developed following extensive research in the rural and semi rural areas around Blantyre and from the ideas and applications of Malawian farmers themselves.
Plot 1: Four rows of five or six metres planted with maize with no fertilizer.
Plot 2: As above but with a fertilizer of normal compound and normal nitrogen.
Plot 3: As above but with double compound fertlizer and normal level nitrogen fertilizer.
Plot 4: As above but with normal level of compound and double nitrogen
Plot 5: As above but with treble compound and nitrogen.
This is a single site six times the area of the individual plots in site one. Here, twenty days after the first maize germination we will sow trifolium (also known as white clover) between the rows as an application of natural nitrogen. Moving into the second year we will vary this application to develop a pattern of effective trifolium use.
Here, we will make use of the native Nsangu tree. This tree protects crops during the hot days with its shade, and in the wet season it sheds its leaves and aids soil fertility. We will plant half an acre under its canopy and measure effectiveness. We will plant alternative trees for firewood to ensure the Nsangu is undisturbed.
Here we will inter-crop between rows of maize with soya beans.
Soon we will be inviting famers groups from around Blantyre to visit the site and work with us on trying new models and sharing ideas and experience. We are also developing a new irrigation and water harvesting system specifically for Malawi and will also be seeking to introduce forms of renewable energy in the near future. Please email us with any comments or questions.
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September 2007 will see the first David James Foundation Scholarship at the University of Westminster.
On the 7th September 2006 David spoke at the University of Westminster Business School Conference on HIV and AIDS and Business: Challenges for Sustainable Development. The event was held at the Royal Society of Medicine in London.
To a large audience made up of many of the world’s leading academics from economics, development and health, David spoke about the work of the Foundation in Malawi. He also discussed the challenge of HIV and AIDS in farming and society and how the Foundation could link up with educational establishments like the University of Westminster to enhance the value of its work.
Since the event, discussions about a more formalised relationship continued and Professor Colin Matheson, Director of Scholarships, agreed to instigate the David James Foundation Scholarship from the start of the next academic year. This will enable a student from Malawi to undertake a fully funded year of study at the University of Westminster leading to an MA in their chosen discipline.
The Foundation will shortly begin working to identify suitable candidates to benefit from this amazing opportunity.
David’s visit to Blantyre in July 2006 led to an historic agreement between the DJF and the Malawi Minsitry of Youth. To ensure that the future of Malawi, its children, are kept safe and secure, David and signed a child protection policy incorporating best practice child protection policy from the UK and Malawi. This MOU is the first of its kind between the Malawi government and UK charity.
During the same visit David also formed an official link between the DJF and the Samaritan’s Trust charity in Blantyre.
Initially, the DJF will work to utilise the eight acres of land owned by the Samaritan’s Trust to ensure they have food security and allow them to focus on their core objectives – to educate and train children to enable them to make a life for themselves. The DJF will also support the building of a wall around the Samaritan Trust site alongside other infrastructure investments.
While in Blantyre, David also gave the coach of the Trust football team two full Manchester City football kits, refereed and, reluctantly, played in a fund-raising youth football tournament for the Trust at Blantyre Sports Club.
Further meetings were held with various potential partners in Malawi who may be in a position to support the ongoing work of the DJF.
(Particular thanks to Dr Harry Potter, Jacqui Von Ribbeck, Shemeen Tarmahomed and Alan Kane and the staff of Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre for their efforts in making the visit such a success)