Another step towards making glasses to prescription locally

The objective of Focus on Malawi has always been to support the development of eye-care services that become locally sustainable. One more step in this process happened yesterday when a large consignment of donated uncut lenses  was delivered to Embangweni Hospital. Soon, another big step: the staff will be trained to cut and insert lenses into frames, ready for dispensing.

staff at Embangweni receive consignment of uncut lenses
Misheck and Phinious, staff at Embangweni eye clinic, receive a consignment of uncut lenses, delivered safely by Ben (top left).


Pub quiz win!

Meet ‘Almost Conscious’, a bunch of friends connected with Colchester Vineyard and supporting Focus on Malawi, who monthly pit their wits at the Alehouse quiz. Yesterday, they actually won, receiving the evening’s top prize of £62.00 — which they’ve donated to Focus on Malawi! Thank you team!

Next Goggle Works Friday 16 August, 19:30

Many complex factors contribute to poverty, but one simple contribution to fighting it is to help people to see better, so they can study and work. In fact, worldwide, half of all sight problems can be solved by using glasses to aid reading and close work. So join us on Friday 16 August in Colchester to help prepare another batch of secondhand glasses to send to our mission partners in Malawi. Starts 19:30 and there’ll be plenty of refreshments to keep you going. For more details, phone 01206 622712.

Pilot Water Well Maintenance Project report published

Recently, The Raven Trust has concentrated on the development of eye care, and has been winding down its remaining, non-eye projects. The very last of these was a Pilot Water Well Maintenance Project for the Ekwendeni Catchment area, and it was finally completed, with the issue of a report, in July 2019.

Chris Challis, the project consultant, gives below a brief summary of the project’s work, and you can download the full findings of the project.

The provision of water wells in developing countries seldom includes a strategic water well maintenance or inspection programme. Ekwendeni Primary Health Care has provided assistance in repairing water wells, but has a very limited capacity. In 2012 the Raven Trust undertook 323 water well surveys and, without exception, every well required improvement. Following on from these surveys, a pilot water well maintenance programme was undertaken. 

This project developed a suitable management system with four basic quality documents and a detailed breakdown of the annual costs involved to keep the water flowing. Water quality was also surveyed which indicated ground scrapes, shallow wells and river sources produced worrying levels of faecal coliforms (E.Coli). Indicating contamination of the water by human or animal faeces, which in turn raises the potential for waterborne diseases such as cholera and salmonella. Drinking water from a borehole offers the most secure source of water. 

The Raven Trust makes a number of recommendations for future work, these include: 

  • The use of a strictly adhered to quality management system. 
  • Boreholes should always be the desired source for drinking water. 
  • Where boreholes are not used, communities need to be supported to ensure the water is treated.
  • Encourage government organisations to take responsibility for monitoring of the quality of water wells, at the very least at schools and hospitals.
  • Encourage and promote communities who maintain their water wells. 
  • Provide external support to ensure the wells are monitored and water quality inspections are undertaken.

A PDF of the report of the project’s findings is available to view and download here