The Build Malawi Project was set up in 2006 and linked up with existing charity Action for the Benefit of Children (ABC) to develop education in Malawi.
The project managers chose the area of Chisala in the Nkhata Bay district in the north of Malawi to do its first major development venture and formed great partnerships with government, independent organisations and businesses.
The main aim of the project was to build a Primary School for children between the ages of 6 and (potentially) 15 years.
In Africa, physical structures are rarely used for just one purpose and the school also serves as a Community Centre after school hours. The aim of this is to promote informal education as well and reach out to the maximum amount of people, whilst involving the community every step of the way!
Building of the school was conducted in two Phases and we are very happy to announce the completion of the whole project in October 2008. The first phase was completed on the 7th January 2008.
All in all we have built the following structures:
- Double Classroom blocks x 4
- Administration Block
- Teacher's house x 4 (with running water to a hand-wash basin and shower and a separate single pit-latrine)
- Borehole with Afridev Water pump
- A Library
- Separate Urinals for girls and boys
- Separate Double pit-latrines for girls and boys
- Single pit-latrine for teachers
Our side projects included:
- A playground and seating area
- Theatre/Assembly shelter
- Fruit tree nursery/indigenous tree nursery for tree re-plantation
- School garden
The structures really do look beautiful and we really splashed out on decorative items, such as good quality, colourful paints, to make the school look cosy and appealing.
It was a dream of the project Managers, Tanya Clarke and Kondwani 'Happy' Nyondo, that the building process benefit the community in some way.
Their constant involvement from the start was important in order to foster a sense of ownership and responsibility.
So, we partnered with the Malawian Technical College (TEVET) in order to implement an
'on-the-job' training scheme and together we chose 6 youths from the community with secondary school qualifications to embark with us on our adventure.
We are very happy to announce that their experience in constructing the school has allowed all of them to graduate with a Tevet certificate.
In the second Phase, the trainees were employed by ABC to help complete the school, giving them a first taste of a professional career. Tevet is linked to the government and is nationally recognized and very well respected.
We had hoped that the whole projects would provide these individuals with great prospects for the future in the construction industry, and can officially report that 4 out of 6 have gained beneficial and regular employment in nearby town, Mzuzu, and in and around their local community.
So, what else?
The philosophy behind our work in Malawi is that if you create something then you have more interest in its survival and we want to ensure this happens for years to come.
Building, however, is only a part of what we want to achieve!
The Primary School will allow for a variety of extra curricular activities that will encourage personal development, self-confidence and good health. We want to encourage the school will set up sports teams, after-school classes, art and music classes, discussion groups and a school garden. The school is already being used as a central meeting point for many groups and local chief and we hope that this will only grow with time.
The Community Centre will allow the community to set up a range of programmes and workshops that will provide an informal education for both children and adults. Literacy classes are particularly important to help the large number of school drop-outs (especially women) achieve their potential. The community have come up with an exciting range of ideas which have come directly from them in Chisala and we will be working in partnership with them to ensure the sustainability of the school/centre for future generations! Thank you to all of you who got involved and helped us make the project a massive success!
Thank you to all of you who got involved and helped us make the project a massive success!
Thanks to Daily (www.daily.co.uk) for providing free hosting for our website.
A big thank you to Kawalazi Tea plantation, owned by Global Tea! They donated living accommodation to the project managers for the duration of the project and also provided us with valuable transport for building materials that have dramatically cut costs. Visit www.globaltea.com for more info.