Homeland MALAWI

For me, home is something strange, almost indescribable and inexplicable. Although it is so, one simply cannot deny that it exists. It is, after all, a concept that is definitely true and actual. Certainly, this word 'home' has many meanings for all kinds of different people.
But is it a building? Family, or friends? A feeling...? What a philosophical question!

Personally, I believe that home is a collection woven from special memories, experiences, personalities and localities. It is inseparable from a place, a childhood and an era. Home is the place to which one can return at any time - a place where one is always welcome and feels at home. There one finds constant peace, tranquility and security, and is accepted, despite the bad circumstances. I can think of my home with homesickness and nostalgia. Although it is almost a 'place', but unfortunately it is not so simple... The past plays a very important role. When I think back to earlier times, it becomes clear to me that my childhood is a big and necessary part of home. Beautiful memories (that have defined me and given me shape) have a defining effect on this complicated concept. Family and friends have also contributed to my concept of home. They are individuals who care about me. I place my trust in them without reservation. They are also my home.
I believe that this word encompasses a whole lot - my life depends on it. My home? It's not just where my house is.
That is where my heart is.


James McAllister was born in South Africa and spent his childhood in Zambia. He is studying mathematics and German language and literature in Dublin, Ireland.

Malawi is a small country in southeastern Africa and is one of the poorest countries in the world (HDI: rank 169 out of 191).
The average annual per capita income is US$643 (2021 – compared to Germany: US$ 50.802). Morethan half of all residents live on less than $1.25 per day. Poverty in Malawi makes it difficult for children, youth, and adults to lead healthy lives. Many people are malnourished and lack access to clean water and health care. Natural livelihoods are severely threatened or already severely affected by deforestation, soil degradation, species extinction, overfishing of Lake Malawi and mining of raw materials such as uranium.
Kasungu District is located 126 km from Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. The population of Kasungu District is over 825,000 people, according to the 2018 census report conducted by the National Statistics Office. 95% of them are farmers.
Kasungu is the capital of a province where child labor is widespread in agriculture, especially in tobacco cultivation. One main factor that contributes to child labor, especially in Kasungu region, are the tobacco farms where people work on leases.

This arrangement puts enormous pressure on parents to perform and exposes children to child labor. 


Due to a lack of job prospects, low levels of schooling and a lack of sexual education, rates of youth unemployment and teenage pregnancies are high. The population is growing at an annual rate of 2.7 percent. Another factor is the HIV pandemic, which is causing many deaths and leaving children to be cared for by a single parent or, in some cases, to fend for themselves after losing both parents. Widespread alcohol and drug abuse are other factors that exacerbate the social situation.
And at the same time, it must be said: Malawi is a beautiful country of great geological and cultural diversity with a very young population - we want to help Malawi overcome its challenges and become even more beautiful.


Empowering Youth In Sustainable Agriculture


In the warm heart of Africa, Malawi, a group of dedicated youth is on a mission to make a difference.

EYISA - Empowering Youth In Sustainable Agriculture is a project team from the NGO Shorten the Distance, which aims to improve the living conditions of children and young people in the areas of health, education, and agriculture.

We have started our PERMACULTURE TRAINING.


EYISA (Empowering Youth in Sustainable Agriculture) on its way!

In collaboration with Luwayo Biswick from the Permaculture Paradise Institute (PPI), we are offering the work group EIYSA, consisting of 15 youth members, valuable insights into Permaculture Design and sustainable ways of managing land. The idea of integrating Permaculture Principles early into our Culture Community Center (CCC), has led us to invite a member of Shorten the Distance e.V. from Berlin, who will be co-hosting the Permaculture Course with the Teachers of the PPI. His name is Benjamin Onno Dikmans, a permaculture designer, who’s currently studying design at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Together with Walusungu Gondwe, our Youth Coordinator, he is guiding the youth in a 12-week project about site development, in which they will be receiving a Certified Permaculture Design Course from Luwayo Biswick and the PPI. 

The aim of the project is twofold; firstly, educating the group about permaculture design and secondly, letting them design the CCCs grounds with their newfound knowledge in collaboration with Benjamin. The course is structured in a way that will give them practical training to implement the theoretical knowledge of Permaculture as a design science. For those new to Permaculture, we can describe it as a Design Method for land, that is based on Principles and Ethics rather than a step-by-step approach. It is based on regenerating the soil and bringing back the natural order, whilst obtaining yields and creating the ecosystems as abundant food systems. In our recent visit to the farm of the Permaculture Paradise Institute in Mchinji, we have witnessed first-hand that creating abundance is possible in just 6 years.


EIYSA has just been receiving a 5-day practical training on-site in Mchinji and the group is coming back with the inspiration to now bring the knowledge to Kasungu. This report by the teachers of the Permaculture Paradise Institute best describes first-hand what and how the youth have been learning:

„The training covered topics which will help provide the youths with solutions to address global environmental and social economic issues affecting communities where the youth stay, but also applicable throughout the world and across a variety of climatic zones. However, practical design implementation was emphasized and made specific to the sub-tropical climate of Malawi and Kasungu, to be precise. The goal of the course was to achieve a basic working understanding of agro-ecological-based planning, site design, and management of the current communal land where the youth will be growing various crops. In relation to site architectural plan both those under way and those to be implemented at a later stage by focusing on the synergies within and between the elements, each element fitting in within and between other elements as part of the whole. 


Both intensive theory and practice were stressed to provide the youth with enough design experience. Throughout the course the youths were tasked to develop and work on individual base and design maps as a learning processes in understanding the permaculture design, the experience and lessons learnt from these small maps will be utilized by the youths in developing a large design map for the community organization site.“ 


Permaculture Paradise Institute (PPI)

Classes have been held on Ethics and Principles, Mapping, Site-Analysis, Permaculture Design, Zoning, Structures and Systems, Water-Management, Soil-Fertility, Composting, Plant Propagation, Pest Management, and all their applications. The week was full-on theory and practice, and after the group had a short break, the real work at the CCCs site was kicked-off Today, Wednesday the 27th of March 2024. From here on we will start designing and implementing on our own site, developing its ecosystem into an abundant and flourishing food system for the Culture Community Center.

Child labor Documentary

in cooperation with Hoho Action Plus


Josie's Restaurant

A Cool Spot for Young People


Josephine, a young and inspiring entrepreneur, opened a restaurant in Kasungu, Malawi. She loves cooking and wanted to create a special place for young people to hang out. Josephine's restaurant has tasty food with local and international flavors. She buys fresh ingredients from the local market to support local farmers. The restaurant has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere that attracts young people. Josephine faced challenges, but she used clever ideas to solve them. Her success is inspiring for other young people who want to follow their dreams and help their community. If you're looking for a fun place to eat and meet friends, check out Josephine's restaurant in Kasungu!

Producing our own bricks

Sustainability is important to us, which is why we produce our own bricks. The bricks are made from clay that is extracted from the construction site.


Tropical Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi - March 2023


On March 11th, Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi with wind speeds of up to 260 kilometres per hour. It destroyed buildings, damaged infrastructure and telecommunications, and caused severe flooding and landslides in Phalombe, Mulanje, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Nsanje, Chikwawa, Zomba, Machinga and Mangochi. According to official reports, the tropical storm has so far claimed more than 220 lives and injured numerous people. Thousands of people are also urgently in need of shelter, clean water, and food.
As we all know, this is part of climate change. A group of dedicated young volunteers from our charity organization planted trees and grass to promote environmental protection and community service. The volunteers worked tirelessly and covered a significant portion of the property. The event was a success and provided the youth with the opportunity to learn about the environment and the benefits of planting trees and grass, as well as to make a statement for our community.

However, it should be noted that the situation in Blantyre remains concerning and urgent support is needed to provide assistance to those affected by Cyclone Freddy. It is crucial to take action to mitigate climate change and prevent similar catastrophic events from occurring in the future.
Our local cooperation partner HOHO Action Plus took the initiative to provide humanitarian aid to the affected people in Mangochi. With a fully loaded truck of clothes, maize flour and soap thy drove there to deliver the goods. Hundreds of people have received donations in Mangochi.

The board member meeting


The board member meeting of Shorten the Distance Trustees was held in Kasungu with the aim of reviewing the progress made in the past year and planning for the upcoming year. The meeting was also meant to discuss any challenges faced by the organization and ways to address them.

The board members were pleased to note that Shorten the Distance had achieved significant progress in the past year. The organization was able to successfully implement a number of projects that benefited the communities it serves. These Projects included:


Construction of a new culture kitchen

Provision of clean water through the installation of boreholes

Distribution of school supplies students

Awareness campaign on nutrition, blood pressure (bp), diabetes and child labour

Planting trees to prevent the climate change.


Despite the success achieved, the board members noted that there were still some challenges facing the organization. These included:

Limited funding: Shorten the Distance relies heavily on donations and grants to fund its projects. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting economies worldwide, there has been a reduction in donations and grants, making it difficult for the organization to continue with its projects.

Lack of skilled staff: The organization is in need of skilled staff to help with project implementation. There is a need for more qualified staff to be employed to ensure the success of projects.


Plans for the Upcoming Year: To address the challenges faced, the board members came up with the following plans for the upcoming year: Diversifying funding sources: The organization will explore alternative funding sources such as partnerships with other organizations and crowdfunding to increase its funding.

Recruitment of skilled staff: The organization will prioritize the recruitment of qualified staff to ensure the success of its projects.


In addition to the progress made and challenges faced, the board members also had the opportunity to meet all members at once, which was a significant milestone. It allowed them to share their ideas and experiences, ask questions and strengthen the unity of the board. Furthermore, they established a strong future concept for the organization, which will help to focus on the goals and spread their missions and visions in schools, communities and youth clubs. Children and youth should be informed about the organization and its activities. "We do not need to wait for the future, because it has already begun" (Judith).


Conclusion: The board member meeting was a success as it provided an opportunity for the board members to review the progress made and plan for the upcoming year. The organization will continue to work towards its mission of improving the lives of the communities it serves, and the establishment of a strong future concept will help to focus on the goals and spread the organization's missions and visions to children and youth.

What are the goals of Shorten the Distance Trustees?


Implementation of projects with local communities: construction of wells, water storage, and installation of photovoltaics


Construction of a youth center                                                                                      


Organic gardening (permaculture), recycling, and upcycling


Awareness campaigns on child labor and child marriage                 


Debates on topics such as human, child, and labor rights; equality; health and hygiene; environment and climate protection; corruption and migration                                                                                         


Child and youth care, tutoring, the teaching of practical skills such as nutritional advice, and communal cooking for a "cultural kitchen"

Unser Projekt in Kasungu


Tel: +49 1771659244