Our Work In Malawi
What we do
Our mission is to provide a safe and suitable learning environment for the children of Malawi which improves attendance, academic performance and aspiration – ultimately offering a sustainable route out of poverty.
Building and improving school facilities in the country is our main focus. In partnership and consultation with the Malawi Ministry of Education, local communities in Malawi and partners here in Scotland, we work with priority schools in Malawi to provide young people with the opportunity to attend school in a safe, clean and friendly learning environment.
One of the key objectives of our projects to build and improve school facilities is to tackle the overcrowding issue faced by education in Malawi. Due to these limitations, pupil to teacher ratios in Malawi are high, and classrooms can be difficult spaces for successful learning as a result.
The government target is 60 learners per teacher, the actual ratio is 124:1. In Standard One, the average ratio is 130:1. Amongst many others, this statistic is one of the key driving truths behind each project that we take on. To enable all children currently learning outdoors to receive education in a conducive learning environment, based on government figures, 41,000 classrooms are required, and to date we have completed [X] builds and renovations, with [X] upcoming projects.
We work in response to direct community need, in partnership with the Malawi Ministry of Education to identify those schools in most urgent need of improved facilities. In consultation with community leaders, parents, teachers and local authorities we develop a plan for improvement for each school – with the support of fundraising from our amazing partners in the UK we are able to employ local tradesmen in Malawi (employing over 20 people indirectly at any time) to carry out necessary building and renovation works, usually in time for the start of each academic year.
We also facilitate volunteering projects on-site in Malawi, with volunteers from a range of backgrounds including schools, companies and community groups, working alongside the Malawi team to support the completion of work.
In 1994, Primary School education was made free in Malawi. At that time there were 1.4 million children in primary education; this increased to 3 million children with no investment in infrastructure, leaving 1.6 million children learning outdoors.
As we’ve outlined, education in Malawi currently faces a range of challenges, and overcrowded classrooms are a catalyst of high drop out rates in Malawian schools. Only 58% of primary school age children complete the first 4 years – the completion rate to Standard 8 is just 31%. 8% of Malawi students go on to complete secondary school and of that, just 14.9% are girls.
Our work supports Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and we are actively working towards changing the nature of education in Malawi for the better. Every child has the right to an education. Primary education must be free and different forms of secondary education must be available to every child. Discipline in schools must respect children’s dignity and their rights. Richer countries must help poorer countries achieve this.
Health, accessibility, and hygiene
With every project we complete, we provide enabling factors for education: namely health, accessibility, and hygiene. Since 2012, we have enabled 34,000 children to benefit from improvements to their learning environment, providing safe, clean spaces for learning. We share this goal with 31 schools across nine districts in Malawi to date, and we work closely with each institution.
We’ve built and renovated 207 classrooms, accessible to children of all ages and designed to omit the need for outdoor learning, by providing spacious, clean environments ideal for education. We prioritise hygiene, and we support the advancement of WASH programmes to ensure better hygiene and facilities for both girls and boys in school.
Learn more about what we do by requesting a talk, or if you’d like to get involved, find out more about how you can volunteer in Malawi. A lot of our support comes from great corporate partnerships and charity partnerships too, and we’re always looking for new people to work with.