Lilongwe, Malawi … In only ten days, four 40-foot shipping containers rolled up to the Action for Progress (AfP) warehouse west of Lilongwe.
One container was filled with 230 mobility units from northwest Indiana, another with hand sanitizer and medical gowns from outside Seattle, Washington. A third contained medical supplies, schoolbooks, and agricultural supplies; it originated in Lebanon, Indiana. The final shipment arrived with the long awaited, and much anticipated, block-making machine direct from the manufacturer.
The mobility units arrived just in time because the remaining inventory from the last shipment had been exhausted a few weeks earlier. National publicity about the mobility program has brought a higher profile to AfP and at the same time increased the number of requests coming in from all over the nation. With a recently signed Memorandum of Agreement, the Malawi government is giving assistance to AfP to assess screening those who ask for units so they can insure everyone is qualified before they approach AfP for assistance. Well over 2,000 units have been distributed nationwide in recent years.
Hand Sanitizer and Medical Gowns
The container of hand sanitizer and medical gowns will fill in the gaps in the national healthcare network that were not filled with the first container that arrived from Washington earlier in the year. The joint program with the Malawi Project and AfP focuses on assisting the government healthcare system because this is the only avenue open to the poorest of the poor to receive health care assistance.
Medical Supplies & School Books
The shipment from Lebanon, Indiana left the states in mid-August filled with medical, educational and agricultural supplies. Distribution is scheduled nationwide as the trailer’s contents are critically needed in every facet of Malawi life. Distribution to Malawi schools follows a similar route as for the medical supplies, with the Malawi government sending vehicles to pick up the supplies and informing AfP as to where the books and supplies are needed most.
Block Making Machine
A protective wall around the AfP distribution center is critically important. Anyone serious about breaking in has the advantage of the darkness of the surrounding area where there is no electricity for lighting, and the fact that there is no protection from entering the property from the road. The Malawi government recently met with the major contractors in the country and requested they stop using bricks (because of the open fires and wood required to make bricks) and go to cement blocks. The Malawi Project had just ordered the block-making machine when the government announced this policy. It has put AfP in an excellent position to offer its services to others who need cement blocks for their construction needs. As a non-profit organization, this will allow AfP to help cover its administrative expenses from a small profit on making the blocks and will make it possible for AfP to build, not only the protective wall, but also the construction of medical facilities already on the drawing board in Lilongwe and Dedza districts.