MoreThanAid, a Non-Profit NGO, founded in Calgary in March 2016 is focused on helping girls and women in Malawi, Africa. MoreThanAid is not a charity.


Tim Barnes, founder, believes that handouts have made many countries dependent on aid, which is why MoreThanAid is based on the principle of “helping people help themselves”.

In the first year MoreThanAid helped over 30 people increase their income and helped pay high school fees for children. School fees were paid from sales of products made in Malawi and sold in North America. Malawi, Africa is one of the poorest countries in the world.

85% of the population live in rural areas, where poverty is the highest. As a result of high rates of HIV, about 50% of the population are kids and most only get a primary education.

As for girls, let’s just say there is inequality. MoreThanAid is building a solid foundation to help transform how girls and women in Malawi can develop the skills and confidence that will allow them to take control of their future.

The programs start with girls in Primary School and extend to mentoring women in business. There is a fully cycle where the success and sales from the women’s business actually funds the High School Scholarships. The diagram below outlines the overall model.

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A key strategy is to build strong relationships with organizations in Malawi and internationally. The intent is not to reinvent the wheel, instead leverage what is working and partner with organizations that are trying to address similar challenges.

One such partnership is with the Board of Directors for Tukombo Girls Secondary School. MoreThanAid is partnering with them to develop a Business Class at Tukombo Secondary School that can be delivered over the internet. MoreThanAid Improvement Plan Page 5 of 15 MoreThanAid While education and mentoring is a key focus, it is equally important that the girls and women realize they have a responsibility to contribute to this cycle.

Healthy competition will be created to ensure the girls/women understand they get something for something. It is also important to recognize that the majority of these girls are coming from remote villages, which creates the need to mentor them outside the academic world. We want them to dream big, be empowered, and develop entrepreneurial skills.

While we have already implemented a number of programs and processes, many of these are informal by design as we wanted to learn and evolve in an agile way. We are now at a point where we have had successes and failures and are in a position to outline improvement projects we want to implement and look for organizations that want to partner to make this a success.

In addition to MoreThanAid helping a number of people in Malawi, Tim wanted to highlight that his family is also benefiting. His wife and two young daughters play a key role in MoreThanAid. In the first year they attend festivals and helped sell the artisan products. Many kids growing up today are unaware of what they have compared to others in the world. Having kids actively involved in expanding their view of the world early in life, will help enable them to become role models for helping others.

About Malawi

Malawi, Africa is one of the poorest countries in the world. 85% of the population live in rural areas, where poverty is the highest. As a result of high rates of HIV, about 50% of the population are kids and most only get a primary education. As for girls, let’s just say there is inequality. Malawi, like many other third world countries, has received aid and charitable support from developed countries like Canada for decades.

However, despite good intentions there is still marginal progress in many of these developing countries.


Foundational Principle: Empower girls and women in rural Malawi to help themselves fund their own education and to ultimately acquire Social Value and Commercial Entrepreneurship Skills. This is not about handouts; this is about helping them help themselves.

Key Outcome: Villages in Malawi create a cycle where they help themselves evolve. Educated girls start businesses and income from those businesses fund education for more girls.

Strategies to achieve this outcome:

 EDUCATE GIRLS: With a preference, not 100%, on girls; starting with secondary (high school) education.

 MOTIVATE GIRLS IN PRIMARY: Let them know, if they do well, they have an opportunity to have their secondary education funded through MoreThanAid. Create competition in primary school to motivate girls to work harder.

 FOCUS ON TALENTS/RESOURCES: Leverage the skills and talent within the villages to generate revenue that brings international money to the village. E.g. crafts, art, agriculture.

 EDUCATED GIRLS GIVE BACK: Girls that are educated through MoreThanAid return to the village for a minimum of three years to help transform their village out of poverty.

 MENTORING: Mentoring will be critical. Girls need help dreaming and thinking big. At the same time they need to realize they are not just getting educated just for themselves. They are getting educated with the expectation they have a responsibility to contribute to the evolution of the village they came from.

 INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIONS: The intent is to not reinvent the wheel, instead partner and leverage organizations and business around the world that can help build a sustaining future for Malawi.

 CREATE PERSONAL CONNECTIONS: A powerful approach will be creating a personal connection between people in the developed world like Canada, US, UK and Malawi. Stories, photos and showing people how their contribution is helping people in Malawi. Allow people see the progress over time vs traditional aid programs where people donate or sponsor children yet they never truly know where their money goes.

 INCREMENTAL PROGRESS and FAIL FAST: MoreThanAid is in this for the long haul, building a solid foundation that can incrementally evolve so momentum can be sustained. If we try something and it does not work, we adjust and move on.

 LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY: There are eCommerce and social media platforms such as Facebook that can become key enablers to achieve these outcomes and connect Malawi with the rest of the world.

 COLLABORATION AND COMMUNICATION: The plan is not to reinvent or address problems that already have solutions (e.g. Micro Financing). Leverage existing groups, communities, and communication channels around the world. Create associations, partnership, etc.

MoreThanAid Improvement Plan 


Learn more about MoreThanAid’ Improvement Plan


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