The Cove Collective is focused on deepening their ties to one specific region in northern Malawi – Chilumba. Currently our projects are mainly directed at enhancing the quality of life for residents of Chitende village, however our Community Small Grant Initiative is open to community groups from the surrounding communities as well.
Chitende is a small, vibrant fishing community with a population of 1,655 located in a rural region of northern Malawi. Situated approximately 5km north of Chilumba jetty, Chitende has been isolated from basic government infrastructure due to lack of road access. In 2018, a road was constructed to Chitende, which finally allowed residents to have motorbike access to health services. While a drastic improvement, the road can only be utilized by 4×4 or motorbike during the dry season. During the rainy season, roughly 6 months of the year, the road becomes impassable and must be re-built in several areas each dry season.
This lack of infrastructure deters the government from expanding water and electric services to the area. It also cuts off approximately 150 households from access to health services. It is not uncommon for women in labor to have to take a boat ride to deliver at the hospital. Chitende has one primary school, serving approximately 400 students, however it is operating with no power, no water and only one half-built school block.
In contrast to the lack of infrastructure, Chitende is rich with cultural and historical preservation. The area is well-known for its sacred land that is protected from local deforestation and burning practices. This sacred land houses a graveyard from the 1700s and is a well-known place for spiritual practices. The community has worked hard to make sure this land retains its significance and purity. It is also well-known throughout the area for the abundance of fish that come from it’s shores.