Primary school education is free in Malawi because most parents live below the poverty line and could not afford school fees. This has increases the number of children going to school but poor infrastructure has comprised the quality of education. Primary school takes 8 years in Malawi from standard 1 to 8. Malawi was ranked the worst in high drop out rate from primary school level in the region.
Mchinji primary school in group village headman Makuta, Traditional Authority Msamala in Balaka district is not an exceptional. Makuta community saw the construction of a school block as a need in order to upgrade the junior primary school to standard 8. Therefore, The United Methodist church of the Resurrection (Rez) in partnership with The Malawi United Methodist Church (MUMC) are supporting the community to construct a school block with two classrooms through Community Health Evangelism (CHE). The program focuses on community participation thereby increasing community ownership.
The above classrooms were built by the community members themselves. “This school has standard 1 – 5 only. Our children, especially girls do not continue school after standard 5. They can hardly walk about 10kms to the next primary school to continue to std. 8, hence the need to upgrade this school” said group village headman Makuta.
The process of constructing the classrooms involved all stakeholders from the beginning.
The community molded and baked bricks for the classrooms. The community has 17 villages and each village was given a task to complete according to number of its households. The government education office in the district supported the project with standard plan of a classroom so that the construction meets government standards.
The construction of the two classrooms has brought joy to the entire Makuta community that women could not help it but dance as it is the culture in the “Warm Heart of Africa”.
The project is expected to finish by early February, 2013.
By Mercy Chikhosi Nyirongo