Weʼre raising £460 to help fund a friend's legal case to protect his land and rights to his shop
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During a March 2016 University field trip to south-east Malawi I was lucky enough to meet a kind, helpful and honest man named Henry, who was a fun, intelligent and informative tour guide for our cohort.
Henry told us that he was saving money to build and maintain a new shop that would sell agricultural fertilisers and cosmetics such as bathing soaps and laundry powder. As of August 2016, I am happy to tell you that Henry had the necessary funds accumulated to pay for the shop - including doors, windows, locks, paint, electricity and labour. Before the shop was in operation, there were no cosmetic shops within a surrounding 12km radius and in previous agricultural seasons people had to walk 40km to acquire fertiliser. Therefore this shop not only provides an income for Henry, but also serves as a sustainable supply of basic need items for local communities; village heads thanked Henry personally for cutting fertiliser buying distances because this in particular makes a huge difference for local villagers.
Unfortunately, people who have been renting other parts of the land are attempting to own this land by false pretence. Currently a man is using Henry's shop to sell his own products such as cooking oil, fresh fish, chicken parts and eggs (as you can see in the cover photograph) so Henry has been disputing this with the local village Chiefs. However, although this customary land falls within the jurisdiction of a recognised traditional authority, it is difficult to finalise the land matters due to poor policies in place, which is why most holders of customary land end up losing their land to ill-minded tenants.
Therefore, Henry wishes to register his land which will then be protected by law because there will be documentary evidence guaranteed by Government statute. There will be an increase in annual rent collection for Henry once the land is successfully registered because the number of farmers renting the land will increase as land thefts will be gone. To register the land will cost Henry MKW460,000.00 which is £462.96. While this is a large sum of money, if lots of people chip in, the cost can be spread and the benefits will be quickly (and gratefully) reaped for Henry and his surrounding communities. The £463 will not only legally grant Henry his rightful land that has been in his family for generations, it will also improve the wellbeing of hundreds of other people, enabling adults to spend time otherwise spent walking miles for fertilisers and other necessities, to work and earn their own livelihoods, and boys AND girls to go to school to guarantee a better future.
YOUR donation could truly change not one, but hundreds of lives today and for years to come.
Land is the most basic of all resources available for social and economic development in Malawi. It is an asset, a fundamental human right".
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Catherine Authers started crowdfunding