Hello lovely blog readers.
I have one week to go before I head off to Malawi, so thought I'd update you on my progress so far - less cheesy photo than earnest attempt to let people know our plan.
The main aim of sending someone from innocent out to one of the projects we support is to see first hand how the foundation money is being spent. On top of that, it's a great opportunity for us to see things at ground level and to try and bring some expertise to what the Microloan Foundation (MLF) are trying to do out there. The work they have done so far is amazing and follows a "social business" model which this year will impact almost 8000 families in Malawi.
So how exactly am I going to help?
I currently work as a production person at innocent - making sure we plan to make enough smoothies for when we need them as well as helping to improve our production processes. While I'm in Malawi, my hope is that I can use some of my own knowledge (along with the combined expertise of my excellent colleagues at Fruit Towers) to help out in some way. I'll be looking at everything from improving the way fruit is handled to understanding the costs of production and looking at new opportunities for the project in the local market. To this end, apart from the mozzie lotion, rehydration salts, footballs and first aid kit I'm taking with me, I've also been speaking to our juice experts in Fruit Towers as well as our sales and marketing people to pick their brains for advice.
So what's the plan?
The plan is to fly into Lilongwe and then head down to Blantyre. I'll then go up to the juice factory producing the juice for the local market, which is close to a town called Michembo. This juice-making project forms part of MLF’s MicroVentures programme, an initiative which focuses on training clients in higher value business skills. Once there, it's going to be all about checking out how the juice is made and suggesting improvements - I'm a bit nervous about it but really excited at the same time.
Expect more from me in the next few weeks. I'm guessing it will come in fits and bursts (depending on where internet access is available) but you can follow my updates on the section at the bottom right of this blog, imaginatively titled "andrew in malawi".
That's it for now. Have a super week - 5 days and counting till take off.