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Flour Frustrations

How do you get your flour?

In rural Malawi, there are two options: spend several hours grinding corn kernels with a large stick in a homemade mortar (as shown in the picture and in this video) or take your corn to a grinding mill which converts your kernels into flour within minutes.

Most prefer the latter.

That was the primary reason we installed a grinding mill in Zowe. It saved women hours of labor by making it possible for them to grind their corn into flour quickly. We turned the mill into our first community business. People pay a small fee (less than a dollar per bucket of corn) and the money goes back into maintaining the mill. The mill quickly became one of our most popular resources.

“When the grinding mill was first installed, everyone from the surrounding communities came to use it. We were all so excited,” said Melina, a Zowe community member. “But now, the mill is old and is constantly breaking down. You go there today and it’s broken. You go there next week, it’s broken again. It’s old.” It’s not unusual to find people sitting outside the mill for hours waiting for it to be repaired.

What was once a useful resource has become a community frustration. And although our staff does its best to repair the equipment each time it breaks, we have reached a point where we need permanent and sustainable solutions. This year, Pamoza will be addressing the mill. We want to repair the building, buy new equipment, and upgrade it to solar energy instead of the expensive diesel currently used.

The upgrades are going to cost roughly $40,000, with the greatest cost being the conversion to solar energy. We’re currently exploring a partnership with the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor in Washington State, along with other rotary clubs, to develop a a grant proposal for funding these long-overdue upgrades. If you know of any individuals or entities who would be interested in supporting this project, please contact Temwa Wright at 

Posted 9/24/2023