Our family has lived in East Africa for many years working in the international development sector. This is why from the very beginning, the development of the local community has been one of the major aims behind Mbuna Bay. Apart from creating employment opportunities, the lodge continuously offers various income-generating possibilities and has been implementing several projects in the areas of health, education, agriculture and community empowerment.
Believing in “helping people to help themselves” from the very beginning, we have tried to involve the population in the planning, realization and control of projects up to the gradual handing over of the overall responsibility for village innovations.
My favorite thing about Mbuna Bay wasn't the friendly staff, the beautiful beach chalet or the delicious food. The lodge has a great relationship with the community & is a great model of sustainable, responsible development. I was very impressed by our visit to the school & community center, and our conversations with the staff. (Melle - Peace Corps Volunteer)
Mbuna Bay Retreat is the only employer in Nkholongue and the neighboring communities. In 2007, 45 people from the village started the construction of the lodge. They were trained by experienced carpenters and builders of the lake region. Later on most of these employees proceeded to be trained for different tasks required for the running of the lodge and are now employed as cooks, kitchen aides, waitresses, housekeeping personnel, maintenance staff and farmers.
In 2008 the construction of a primary school for 200 children was the first lodge project. Since then the number of teachers has risen from one to three and a third classroom has been added. The local school is being closely monitored by a village School Commission. In a Community House school children find all the schoolbooks they cannot afford themselves. There is also a library with all kinds of books – historical, geographical or just stories in Portuguese and also in the local language Nyanja.
An official health post for Nkholongue and several neighbouring villages followed and was handed over to the government which since then provides a nurse and supplies medicine. A population elected Health Commission is keeping a watchful eye on the busily frequented Health Post
On its organic farm Mbuna Bay Lodge has from the beginning been introducing new types of crops, fruit and various types of trees aimed at the improvement and diversification of the local food production. Examples: Soya, sesame, coconut, dates, almond, cashew, citrus fruit, berries, moringa.
A group of women is reviving the traditional art of pottery experimenting with new shapes and colours. Others produce necklaces from clay beads or sow bags and purses from capulana material. The women work on their own account. The lodge merely helps with the organization and provides space in a little shop of the main building as well as in the lobby of Girassol Hotel in the provincial capital Lichinga.
We are Nyanja
In 2013 Jonathan Litscher, co-founder of Mbuna Bay, started a Mango and banana drying business buying fruit from the local population, drying it with local labour and exporting it to Switzerland. (www.nyanja.ch)