Tonthoza Uganja


Tonthoza Uganja devotes her life to restoring landscapes and serving rural small-holder farmers. She is the founder of a grassroots organization called Sustainable farming Solutions (SFS), an award-winning social enterprise in Malawi that provides farmers access to markets, finance, low-cost climate-smart technologies and extension services for enhancing farming landscapes and livelihoods. Her enterprise provides farmers with tailored extension services and access to input finance and sustainable markets, and she is responsible for attempting to restore farmlands in Malawi. Tontho was born in 1990 and comes from Yesaya village in Lilongwe, Malawi. She has a BSc in Forestry and an MSc in Tropical Forestry. She is also a PhD candidate researching landscape management models in a changing climate for enhanced livelihoods in Malawi. Tontho is passionate about climate-smart farming systems and advocates for gender-responsive policy on climate issues.

Learn more about Tonthoza here:

Name of your business, website, social media handles

Sustainable Farming Solutions

What has been our greatest & favorite achievement so far and why?

Launching a grassroots land restoration startup sustainable farming solutions which currently works with women farming groups in the Northern region of Malawi. We aim to reach over 15 women groups (10,000 farmers) by the end of 2026. We provide them with tailored trainings, input finance and access to sustainable markets. So far, we are working with over 1,400 women farmers across 5 communities.

If you are an entrepreneur, what motivated you to start your own business?

Growing up in a society of small-holder farmers, I grew up, what stood out for me was the nurturing my community played in ecosystem management. Their focused attention inspired me to details like how to take care of disappearing species of fruit trees from the natural woodlands, which led me to study forestry. After completing my master’s in Forestry, it became clear that my path was to work with farmers, driving decisions and policies that benefit and support rural communities to restore catchment areas and heal ecosystems. I decided then that if I could help them manage their small farms and help empower them to manage their woodlands sustainably, it would be one step towards restoring the nature they vastly rely on. I vowed to create profitable farming systems that uplift their livelihoods and ecosystems, leading me to establish Sustainable Farming Solutions (SFS) Malawi in 2019.

What does success mean to you?

With SFS the dream is not just land restoration and women empowerment or financial independence, but that through all the resources provided the women go on to establish groups of their own, which further grow into independent cooperatives and grow to establish other cooperatives across the nation and ripple through Africa. By so doing, these women, being financially independent and conversant with leadership principles will go on to be leaders who not only transform their communities but other communities that they branch off into.

What is your mantra or favorite saying? (If it's a known quote, please let us know who said it first!)

“Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in.” Wangari Mathaii

What failure taught you the most about life or business? What was the lesson?

Passion alone does not pay bills, you have to earn an income and learn to collaborate because no one works alone in life.

What's your favorite book - fiction or non-fiction! - in the past year?

On Her Own Ground – A’Lelia Bundles

If you could teach the world one five-minute lesson, what would it be?


Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently when you were first starting out?

Capitalised on my networks more

What does women's empowerment look like to you in action?

Choice and giving the voiceless voices to become who they can be.

What would you tell 19-year-old YOU?

Cheer up life is beautiful

What will 86-year-old you want you to know TODAY?

That I lived and that I loved and have achieved everything that I wanted and it turned out better than I had imagined.

Does anyone call you by a nickname? What is it?


What is your favorite place for our audience to reach you?


What is your favorite quote? (It can be yours or from someone that you look up to.)

“Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in.” Wangari Mathaii

Learn more about Tontho here:

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