Our Work In Malawi
What we do
Our mission is to provide a safe and suitable learning environment for the children in our partner schools 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 UK partners, 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 facing schools in Malawi. Due to lack of classroom space, pupil to teacher ratios in Malawi are high, making teaching virtually impossible.The government target is 60 learners per teacher however the usual ratio is 124:1. In Standard One, equivalent to Primary One, the average ratio is 130:1. Based on government figures, 41,000 classrooms are required to enable all children to learn indoors – to date, we have completed 207 builds and renovations. This is amazing, however there is a long way to go.
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.
Education as a route out of poverty
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.
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.
We believe that education is a sustainable route out of poverty and is the best solution to meet the rising challenges and demands of the modern world.
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.
Our school development programme
We have a full annual programme of activities at our partner schools in Malawi. Our main focus is renovating schools that have become unsuitable for learning and, building new classrooms at school sites where the majority of children are learning outdoors. We also work on programmes that support educational outcomes including WASH initiatives such providing hand washing stations at all of our 31 partner schools and delivering free period products and education days at 3 partner schools in 2020.
You can take a look at all our past, current and upcoming projects below. If you’re interested in getting involved, you can find out about all our upcoming volunteer opportunities. If you would like to support us in other ways, we always appreciate any donations to help fund our work. We also have great corporate partnership and charity school partnership opportunities you can get involved in.