Patricia Chinyama and her baby

How United Purpose is leading the way in community-led and grassroots innovations

This September we are delighted to be holding our fifth Green Drinks networking event in partnership with Cynnal Cymru member, United Purpose. This unique evening event will be held on 27 September in United Purpose’s headquarters in Cardiff from 17:30 to 19:30pm. This is a fantastic opportunity to hear about their work first-hand as well as an opportunity to meet the team.

Here’s a short preview about the organisation:


Introducing United Purpose

United Purpose (UP) is a movement of people and organisations that strive to end poverty and inequality across the globe. We are a leader in community-led development and grassroots innovations. For over 40 years we have worked with frontline activists, community organisations and individuals to support people to gain agency over their own lives – so they can move beyond aid.

We take this approach because we believe a parent’s ability to feed, educate or keep their child healthy should never be dependent on benevolence or charity, but always within their own control. We use innovation and creativity to make this happen, and we are not afraid to try new things, for better results.

We relocated our headquarters from Hereford to Cardiff in March 2016. As the only large international NGO headquartered in Wales, we are excited about all the opportunities that come with being based in the Welsh capital.

Linking communities in Wales and Malawi – through carbon

Patricia Chinyama lives in a small village in rural Malawi. Like many other women in her village, she attended one of United Purpose’s training programmes, where she learnt how to make fuel-efficient stoves from local materials and sell them to her networks.

United Purpose's fuel efficient stoves

United Purpose’s fuel efficient stoves

“Before I started making stoves, life was very hard, especially finding enough food and money,� says Patricia. “Some of my children had to drop out of school and, because of lack of food and clothes, we also had frequent outbreaks of disease.�

Doing good – for people and planet

Patricia is a member of one of the 65 stove production groups that UP has formed to empower people economically in Malawi. But this project doesn’t stop at providing local people and communities with income opportunities and eco-friendly stoves.

It also has an impact here in Wales.

Because these stoves are good for the environment (fewer trees chopped down, thus saving carbon), we were able to get this project accredited as a creator of Gold Standard carbon credits. We then invite organisations here in Wales and further afield to buy these carbon credits as a way to reduce their carbon footprint. The money they spend will be reinvested in our vital community development projects in Malawi.

As a charity, selling carbon credits provides us with a sustainable and viable income stream in an increasingly competitive funding environment.

From Wales to the world

At United Purpose, we encourage people to actively reduce their carbon footprint – whether it’s saving energy at home or choosing the most environmentally friendly mode of transport – but we recognise that in today’s modern world there are some activities we simply can’t avoid that emit carbon into the atmosphere.

That’s where carbon offsetting comes in. We believe it’s a way to take responsibility for our unavoidable carbon emissions. It’s definitely not the whole answer to beating climate change, but it is one important piece of the puzzle.

We are proud to be based in the Welsh capital and we are especially keen to encourage local organisations to work with us to reduce their carbon footprints and invest in their corporate social responsibility initiatives. Our ambition is to encourage people in Wales to become more climate-conscious and, at the same time, empower people like Patricia in Malawi to forge independent, prosperous and sustainable futures.

Find out more

United Purpose logo

Visit www.united-purpose.org or follow us on Twitter at @United_Purpose