Our Malawi Partnership
Growth through co-operative trade

We’ve launched an innovative Co-operative International Trading Development Fund to help move global communities out of poverty. It will focus on countries where we can make the greatest difference.

Our Malawi Partnership launched on the 2nd July 2022 as we celebrated the 100th International Day of Co-operatives. In our stores, we’re selling a range of products linked to Malawi on dedicated free standing display units. A percentage from the sale of these products will support the initiative.

People co-operating in Malawi

The Fund

We’re building our innovative Co-operative International Trading Development Fund by putting aside a proportion from sales every time you spend on Co-op Fairtrade products. We have supported Fairtrade for well over 25 years and our commitment remains as strong as ever. But now when you buy Co-op Fairtrade products, the benefits go even further – into strengthening worldwide co-operatives and their development! In addition, we’re contributing a percentage from the sales of a new range of products displayed on custom-made freestanding units in all of our stores.

The first focus for our fund is Malawi, in south-eastern Africa.

We’ve chosen Malawi as it’s one the world’s poorest countries. Most growers there are small holders dependent on subsistence farming to make a living and produce crops which are vulnerable to changing weather patterns, especially drought.

A programme of support on the ground is being developed with the help of Co-op College and the Malawi Federation of Co-operatives (MAFECO) to help transform their trading capacity. All products currently available on our display units have a connection to Malawi. We’ll add more over time.

Co-operative International Trading Development Fund
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On a visit to Malawi, I experienced first-hand both the poverty and spirit of the people, and therefore the opportunity that exists by strengthening their trading capability. Through the true spirit of co-operation, we can make a difference.

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Debbie Robinson

CEO Central England Co-operative

The Products

In our stores we will sell a range of products linked to Malawi on dedicated free standing display units. A proportion of the sales from these products will fund the work of the Malawi Federation of Co-operatives as they build the development programmes locally.

Nutcellars

Nutcellars

The Emmott family has been instrumental in getting smallholder macadamia production started, working with HIMACUL (Highland Macadamia Cooperative Union Limited) in Malawi through their charity Neno Macadamia Trust.

The fourth-generation Emmott family set up Nutcellars to continue the legacy started by their great grandparents.

Products:

  • Macadamia Nut Butter 100g
  • Macadamia Chocolate Butter 100g
  • Macadamia raw 55g
Liberation

Liberation

Liberation Foods is not just a Fairtrade nut company; we are a Community Interest Company that’s owned by the smallholder farmers around the world that plant, nurture and pick the nuts that go into our delicious range, including the 3800 farmers of the Highlands Macadamia Co-operative Union Limited (HIMACUL) in Malawi.

Products:

  • Chilli & Lime Cashews 90g
  • Seeds Nuts & Goji Berries 90g
  • Salted peanuts & cashews 90g
  • Natural Mixed Nuts 90g
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter 350g
Revolver

Revolver

Revolver, is a coffee co-operative, meaning profit goes to members – not shareholders. We are sourcing new coffees from Mzuzu Coffee Planters Union and teas from the Msuwadzi Small Farmers Association for your enjoyment.

Products:

  • Malawi Ground Coffee (6x200g)
  • Malawi Coffee Beans (6x200g)
  • Malawi Coffee Bag 12 x 8g x10
  • Malawi Nespresso® Compatible Capsules 12 x (5g x 10)
  • Morning Malawi (Black Tea) 12 x (2.5g x 100)
  • Satemwa Peppermint 12 x (2.5g x 100)
Kilombero Rice

Kilombero Rice

Based in Paisley in the West of Scotland, Just Trading Scotland (JTS) is a fair trade enterprise set up to facilitate the import and distribution of fairly traded food products to the UK.

Kilombero rice grain is hand sown in the rich soils of Northern Malawi, coupled with environmentally friendly traditional harvesting methods ensures a superior aromatic rice, that is good for you and better for the planet.

Products:

  • Brown Rice 1kg
  • White Rice 1kg
One Water

One Water

One Water was launched back in 2005 with a simple vision: to sell bottled water in the UK to fund water projects across the world. Sales of One Water through Our Malawi Partnership will generate additional funds to be directed to programmes around our Malawian co-operative communities.

Products:

  • Still 500ml
  • Sparkling 500ml

About Malawi

population

Malawi is a country in south-eastern Africa with a population of just under 20 million.

rising sun

‘Malawi’ means ‘fire flames’. The country takes its name from the reflection of the rising sun on the waters of the vast Lake Malawi.

agriculture

Agriculture is central to the economy with 90% of the population living in rural areas.

tea

Malawi was the first country in Africa to grow tea on a commercial scale.

Malawi in a nutshell...

  • Malawi is bordered by Tanzania to the north, Lake Malawi to the east, Mozambique to the east and south, and Zambia to the west.
  • It is one of the world’s poorest countries with almost 70% of the population living below the national poverty line.
  • Most farmers are small-holders dependent on subsistence farming to make a living and producing crops such as maize, beans, rice, cassava, coffee, tobacco and ground nuts
  • Malawi is the 6th largest producer of macadamia nuts in the world
  • Malawi crops, being rain fed, are vulnerable to changing weather patterns especially drought
  • The Malawian informal economy has grown with 97% of people, mostly women, employed in agriculture.
  • Major challenges to producers and farmers include poor working conditions and safety, lack of social protection and representation, low incomes and climate change.
Learn more about Malawi

Our Partners

The Co-operative College is an educational charity with big plans to make the world a more co-operative place. Born over 100 years ago, their aim is to tackle ongoing inequality and social injustice through co-operative learning, both in the UK and abroad.

As part of Our Malawi Partnership, the College will work on the ground, using their distinctive learning approach to help create mutually beneficial co-operative networks in Malawi and globally. These networks will facilitate the sharing of co-operative values and practical knowledge between farmers and across co-operatives, helping to improve the livelihoods of small-holder farmers and their communities.

MAFECO
Co-operative College also supported the creation of Malawi’s first national apex body for co-operatives, the Malawi Federation of Co-operatives. MAFECO provides growth, training and support opportunities for future generations of co-operative producers and farmers.

Visit Co-op College Learn more about MAFECO
Co-operative College
Central England Co-operative
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Let's Co-operate

We’re inviting as many UK co-operative societies as possible to join us in support of this exciting initiative.

This could be by generating funds through relevant trading opportunities of your own or simply helping us to spread the word. Whichever way you choose to co-operate, we’ll be able to achieve greater good together.

If you’re a Co-operative and interested in getting involved, please contact malawi.partnership@centralengland.coop to find out how.

Let’s co-operate to help move global communities out of poverty.

FAQs

In addition to a proportion of all product sales from the items on Our Malawi Partnership display unit, we’ll also invest a percentage from every Co-op Fairtrade purchase made towards this initiative. We are also providing additional funding to The One Foundation as a result of selling One Water. Over the duration of the first 5 years we aim to invest a combined £600K from Central England alone.
This project is all about support through trading, so buy Co-op Fairtrade products and also choose the items displayed on Our Malawi Partnership display unit to make a difference.
We’ve chosen Malawi to be our pilot project, as it’s one the world’s poorest countries with some extremely challenging conditions - but has incredible co-operative and trading potential.
Our focus is firmly on Malawi for the next 5 years and we’ll use what we’ve learned and experienced over that time to decide how or where to progress next.
You can purchase all of the products in support of Malawi at any of our Central England Co-operative stores. Just look out for the Our Malawi Partnership Display stand, choose from our extensive range of Co-op Fairtrade products or ask one of our colleagues.
We have committed to supporting Malawi for an initial 5 years, followed by a review period where we’ll assess the progress we’ve made and take it from there.
Our ambition is to develop a deeper understanding of the impact of co-operative and fair trade over aid to deliver sustainability for smallholder farmers that takes Malawian communities out of abject poverty. All supported by our members and customers.
Absolutely, we’re still committed to Fairtrade, Fare Share, Too Good To Go and our Community Dividend fund will continue to support our communities in need.
We’re inviting other U.K. co-op societies to engage and support this new initiative so we can do more good co-operatively. Express your interest by dropping us a line at Malawi.partnership@centralengland.coop
It’s simple. For every £1 you spend on Co-op Fairtrade products, we will put percentage aside for the fund. All the products on the Our Malawi Partnership Display stand will also contribute to the fund when you buy them.
We are very proud of our leadership in Fairtrade for over 25 years. Whilst we remain as committed as ever, we are building on our successes with new opportunities, specifically for co-op trading development in Malawi. So whilst obviously linked, our support through this partnership is different but complementary to our ongoing Fairtrade support.
Yes. Funds will be administered independently by The Co-op College and Malawi Federation of Co-operatives (MAFECO)) who are working together on the development, implementation and monitoring of workplans in Malawi. The ongoing monitoring and evaluation will help inform the future direction of our work. Our partners at Co-op College have worked with Malawi for many years and actually established MAFECO as the country's first national apex body for co-operatives. Separately, The One Foundation will be receiving funding to invest as a standalone charity in Malawian co-op communities.
We will keep you updated via our website through reports received from Malawi.
We believe that the co-ops themselves are the only people in a position to know what is best for them. Together with MAFECO, The Co-op College have run workshops in Malawi to hear directly from the cop-ops themselves what priorities and opportunities are most important. As a result workplans have been drafted to address these.
FAQs