Buckingham based charity that supports conservation in Malawi meet royalty at awards ceremony

Force Ngwira with RIPPLE Africa's founders Liz and Geoff Furber
Force Ngwira with RIPPLE Africa's founders Liz and Geoff Furber

Representatives of a Buckingham based charity that supports conservation work in Malawi met members of the royal family at an awards ceremony in London last week.

The team at RIPPLE Africa attended the Tusk Awards after their Malawi country director Force Ngwira reached the final three in the 2018 Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa.

RIPPLE Africa has it's Buckingham base at Whiteleaf Business Centre where it's five strong UK team work from - while there are a team based in Florida in the United States alongside 150 staff in Malawi, who work on the ground alongside 8,000 local people, aiming to provide positive educational, environmental and healthcare change and development.

Although Mr Ngwira did not win, the team enjoyed a fantastic evening and met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Mr Ngwira said: "I had a good chat with the Duke and he was very interested in our ongoing work on fish conservation."

Since its formation in 2003, RIPPLE Africa has helped plant more than eight million trees in the country, protect forests, allowed 40,000 people to cook with cookstoves which burn less wood and helped to protect many endangered species of fish.

The charity was founded by Buckingham residents Geoff and Liz Furber and their interest in the area came about in unusual circumstances.

Mr Furber said: "We were on holiday in Malawi in 2002 and took a wrong turning during a journey.

"We ended up in a location called Mwaya which we instantly took to our hearts.

"We found out that there was a property in the area for sale so we bought it and the next year we started a charity to support the area."

The population of Malawi has increased from three to 20 million during RIPPLE Africa's 15 years of operations in the area.

The charity's recent achievements in the area include helping to build eight pre-schools and helping to install 60 computers into local schools.

Mr Furber added: "Our approach is very much about getting the community involved.

"We try to empower the people of Malawi and give them the tools to make change for the better."