Speaker for 16th April 2019

Club President John McGlade greets Paul Snelling, with Club Vice President, Derick Woods (L) and Speakers Committee Chair, Des Moore (R)

Coleraine Probus has an update on the Zomba Action Project
Part 1: A summary from Graham…

The President, John McGlade, introduced this mornings speaker, Paul Snelling, the topic of his talk being “The Zomba Action Project (ZAP)”.

Paul has travelled 7 or 8 times to Malawi, a former British Colony, and to Zomba a city in southern Malawi which until 1975 was the capital city, (having been replaced by Lilongwe as capital.) In 2001 the former mayor, John Dallat, invited Dick Gordon, a Presbyterian minister to address the Coleraine Borough Council and through this meeting the link between Coleraine and Zomba was formed. In 2003 the Charity Zomba Action Project (ZAP) entered the scene with the aim of working for the benefit of the most needy people and communities in the Zomba region. Over the last 16 years ZAP has helped to fund church, development, education and health projects in co-operation with the local Management Board. Projects such as the construction of deep wells, grants to build schools, feeding programmes, irrigation schemes, the provision of bee hives, help for subsistence farmers, training street children to become motor mechanics and the provision of dental and medical equipment. The work is supported by volunteers who, at their own expense, travel each year to the Zomba region. Paul describes the Malawians as a lively, singing, dancing people who give a genuine welcome in spite of their hardships.

Coleraine Probus has an update on the Zomba Action Project
Part 2: WebEd notes…

Probus members were given an excellent briefing on our Council's special relationship with Zomba City in distant Malawi*, when Paul Snelling came to a club meeting recently. Paul is the secretary for the Zomba Action Project (ZAP), and has been in that role since it officially became a registered charity on 2003. He is in regular contact with the Malawi side of the operation and visits the project (with various Coleraine volunteers), every other year.

Meeting and chatting in the Zomba Area

Malawi was once a British protectorate, formerly known as 'Nyasaland'. It therefore has English as its second language, with a form of Bantu, 'Chichewa', for everyday use. This makes it easy for visitors from around the North Coast to meet and talk to the local Zomba residents. This is clearly what Paul enjoys the most, meeting and talking to many people in the Zomba area, and together, finding ways to help in the places and projects that most need encouraging and developing.

Town Centre, Zomba City

Paul's talk came with an excellent slideshow of life in Zomba and some of the many projects ZAP has aided over the last 16 years. This included the only 'Supermarket' in the area (and it was nothing like Tesco's either). There was also the vital 'Bicycle Ambulance' - with medical facilities often long hours walking distance away, this is an inexpensive lifesaver. Although basic food is relatively cheap to buy, almost everything else is about the same price as here in Coleraine. For instance, a child's school book may cost £5, here that would be cheep, in Zomba it would be way beyond the reach of nearly every family.

The Infants Class in one of the schools

Education is clearly a priority, and as many schools are often just classrooms under the shade of trees, ZAP helps provide Schoolrooms of baked clay brick - loo's are to be added! ZAP has also helped by providing books and other equipment from donated items in Coleraine. As good as this help is, it is quite expensive to get to Zomba - currently costing about £8 per cubic foot - if only someone could think of a way to reduce shipping costs!

Coleraine visitors at the Zomba Ladies School

As Zomba is generally a rural area, the project has put a lot of time, education and effort into improving farming methods, water supply and thinking of 'new ideas' to develop - Honey and Beekeeping methods, as well as 'Motorcycle Maintenance' skills, are examples of this. However, recently ZAP has been trying to think of how best to help in 'the hungry time' of each year. This is the two months or so BEFORE the crops are ready for harvest. A scheme for 'Goat Aid' has been initiated. A good quality female goat costs around £30, and it is hoped that in time this will become a self-supply project (providing the goats don't get at, and eat, the unripe crops! - WebEd).

Older students in class

ZAP has made and continues to make, a real difference to the people of the Zomba area. It is a project that the whole Council can be proud of, and all of us folks that live in Coleraine, should be proud of our connection to its continuing success.


Coleraine Volunteers say a big 'Thank You' to the Zomba children, for the hospitality they received on the visit last year.

*Footnote - Zomba City, Malawi is about 7,800 miles from Coleraine.

For more news and information about ZAP. Just 'Click' the flag below (this will open in a new window).


To see exactly where Zomba is in Malawi, 'Click' this link for a large map of the country and look for the big RED O, There's also a few extra photos!