Ensuring we run efficiently and effectively
Ripple Africa’s Board of Trustees is responsible for the overall control and strategic direction of the charity. Between them, they have many years of charity and business experience and use this to ensure that we run efficiently and effectively, and meet the objectives of the charity.
They meet quarterly to evaluate our operational and financial performance, and review our strategies to ensure that we can continue to grow and improve the lives of more people in one of the world’s poorest countries. Our Trustees are a vital part of our management structure, and they also have to be able to play a good game of table tennis!
I am a British guy, married to a Canadian, currently living in Toronto. My career to date has been in Consumer Goods (both Retail and Wholesale) in the Health & Beauty and Fashion sectors. Recent roles include a position on the Executive team with Fashion Retailer White Stuff in the UK and MD North America for The Body Shop in Toronto.
Having spent some time at Mwaya Beach whilst on a work sabbatical, I instantly fell in love with the charity, those that work for it and those whom we help. Ripple Africa has an incredible ethos ‘providing a hand up, not a hand out’, and is true to this mantra in everything it does – thanks largely to its inspirational founders Geoff and Liz Furber. This way of working works in Malawi, and the benefits to the locals that the charity has provided are clear to see throughout the area.
I became a Ripple Africa Trustee after I volunteered for the charity, and more recently have taken on the role of Chair.
In 2003, my 17 year old daughter and two friends raised money to build Mwaya Community Library and then went out for five weeks as volunteers. As a ‘Worried Mother’, I arranged a family visit to Mwaya at the end of their trip to see what it was all about, and the rest, as they say, is history. We became involved with the tree planting and forest conservation projects, and I was delighted to be invited to become a Trustee in 2011.
What impresses me most about Ripple Africa is the determination to uphold its ‘a hand up, not a handout’ philosophy, supporting local people to help themselves. Although my professional skills are not particularly useful in Malawi, 30 years’ experience running my own landscape design and architecture practices and contract management, means I can understand the difficulties rural Malawians face when they have so few resources and limited markets. That is why I am particularly interested in Ripple Africa’s education projects, to help provide the next generations with the skills to take control of their own futures.
My first involvement with Ripple Africa was when I volunteered in Malawi for a year in 2011, and I immediately fell in love with the people, the place and the fantastic work the charity undertakes. As such I continued to work for the charity thereafter, living and working in Malawi and England for a further four years. I’m now privileged to still be involved with the charity and jumped at the chance to become a Trustee and help with its long term sustainability, whilst continuing to be an enthusiastic advocate.
Since working with Ripple Africa I’ve continued in the international development sector, managing large scale UK government funded solar and stabilisation projects in Nigeria and Somalia. More recently I’ve specialised further in renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa and completed a masters in Climate Change and Development. I now lead Practical Action Consulting’s energy projects.
My first exposure to Ripple Africa was being asked to play table tennis when I walked into their offices on a whim. A few conversations later (and more table tennis games) I started to support them having very quickly seen the impact a smaller, focussed charity can have when it has such dedicated founders and employees.
It was during this time that I arranged to visit Mwaya beach, first in 2016 with my son and then again in 2018 with my elder daughter too (my son was so keen to go back that he saved money for months and paid his own way). Firstly, what a stunning place to visit. Not only is the geography beautiful, the people are also so welcoming and happy – you are instantly uplifted. Secondly, the ethos and work ethic of everyone involved in the charity is truly inspirational.
We were able to meet with communities and to hear how their lives have been positively changed, a phenomenal testament to the idea of a ‘hand up not a hand out.’
Geoff Furber – CEO
Geoff and his wife Liz founded Ripple Africa in 2003 after purchasing a property at Mwaya Beach on the shores of Lake Malawi. Geoff has a real passion for helping the communities living in Nkhata Bay District to achieve a better life, and he strongly believes in empowering the people to become the solution.
He has worked for the charity full time since 2003 without an income, both in the UK and in Malawi where he spends between four and six months a year. He started an office cleaning company in 1979 and, although he is still managing director, he has two directors who run the business for him which means he now devotes his time and energy to running Ripple Africa. His business experience has provided him with the managerial and financial skills to run the charity so that it produces good results on limited funds. In addition to this, he ensures work is fun and rewarding.