APU In the Community
Two Communities, One Brick – Responsible Sourcing of Construction
Undertaking APU’s construction has been a mighty feat, requiring resources, materials, and skilled labour. Our projects have employed hundreds of local tradespeople, most of whom have been employed on a full time basis since 2007, providing an enormous boost to the local economy. In addition to providing employment, unskilled workers at APU have been trained on the job to become competent bricklayers, metal workers, and carpenters. These workers are now earning higher wages in recognition of their skill level. When construction is complete at APU, these people will take their skills with them, making them more employable and able to earn a higher income to support their families
Our policy at APU has always been to strengthen the local economy by employing Malawians at all levels of our organization, from the manual labourers, cooks and gardeners, to the architects, lawyers, accountants, teachers, and management levels of APU. As a result, we have, over the years, trained a small army of local bricklayers, carpenters, cooks, and painters who have gained skills during their time at APU.
APU Brings Economic Boom & Government Funding to Nearby Trading Center of Nsaru
The result of steady paid employment to hundreds of men and women over the past seven years has resulted in an economic boom in the adjacent Trading Center of Nsaru. New stores have opened to provide the goods needed by APU employees and their families. Families have moved to the trading center to be closer to the employment that APU is offering, resulting in the construction of rental housing. A large government water project has been undertaken to provide Nsaru with clean running water. Nsaru was chosen as the recipient of the project due directly to the recent growth in the population attributed to APU.
United Nations World Food Program – “Purchase for Progress” Initiative
Henry, APU’s lead Engineer, traveled to Brazil to represent local Farmers in a conference for the United Nations World Food Program, Purchase for Progress Initiative. Purchase for Progress leverages WFP’s purchasing power and expertise in food quality and logistics to link smallholder farmers to agricultural markets. WFP and local partners work with farmer organizations to help smallholders develop business and harvesting skills to meet WFP’s high quality standards. By acquiring these skills, smallholders are able to sell their crop production to WFP and, most importantly, become competitive players in the formal markets to increase their incomes and improve their lives. Henry was chosen to represent his local farmer organization and was one of 60 Malawian representatives chosen to attend the conference.
Our APU students spend three hours each Wednesday afternoon engaged in service activities both at the APU construction site as well as out in the community. They volunteer at the local medical clinic, take time to mentor primary school students, and clean up garbage at the local market place. In addition, they spend one afternoon a week working at the APU school site carrying water, bricks, and sand, spend time watering saplings in the APU tree nursery and tend to the plants in the extensive APU garden.
APU is breaking new ground in teaching its students that you don’t need to be wealthy in order to give back and make a difference in your community. All that is needed is a strong and healthy body and a will to help others. At first, our girls did not understand the importance of giving their services for free, stating that they were poor and had nothing to give. The ethic of volunteerism is not widespread in Malawi due to the extreme poverty faced by families, particularly in the rural areas. Their teachers have convinced them that indeed they have hands, feet, brains and energy, in fact they had everything to give! Our girls are proud that they can offer their help to those around them and are beginning to understand the importance of volunteering their time. It gives them a sense of power, that they have the ability to do something of value for others. It is the start of their leadership training as they start to understand their ability to make change in their communities.