Back to School Community Initiative Project, Malawi
Chikosa Ngwira & Brighton Chunga
The challenge that the project addresses:
Back to School Community Initiative Project (BSCIP) seeks to improve the educational opportunities available to the children of Luwuchi Primary School in Rumphi, Malawi. Luwuchi Primary School is plagued with infrastructural deficiencies while school children are faced with the unenviable position of having inadequate learning materials. The lack of basic educational facilities have resulted in poor motivation amongst pupils which has in turn led to poor performance and increased school dropouts amongst both boys and girls with the latter failing to complete primary education altogether. These challenges are exacerbated by poor levels of commitment by some parents to support their children in obtaining an education.
What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?:
- BSCIP was formed in 2015 by four alumni of Luwuchi Primary School, including Canon Collins alumnus Chikosa Ngwira and Canon Collins scholar, Brighton Chunga. Following consultation meetings and situational analysis with all key stakeholders, the alumni initiated a project to inspire children and promote education at Luwuchi Primary School.
- The project runs an annual performance award targeting the top ten pupils in each class between Standards 1-8. These pupils are awarded learning materials procured with the financial contributions of the four former pupils.
- Awards are also granted to the three best teachers from each section of the school (infant, junior and senior).
- Motivational talks are arranged to take place during the annual awards ceremonies, attended by all pupils, teachers, local leaders and parents.
- Most recently, the project has embarked on supporting infrastructural improvements of the school, including the electrification of teachers’ houses and the construction of a staff room.
Describe the project's impact:
- Since the awards programme was initiated, we have noted a remarkable improvement in performance and competition amongst pupils in all classes.
- Female students are now dominating the top three positions in most classes.
- The school dropout rate has reduced by 25% since the project’s inception.
- We have noted an improved level of commitment, competition and performance amongst current teachers.
- An increased number of parents are showing interest and commitment towards supporting their children to attain education. In 2017 more than 70 parents and 8 local leaders attended the annual awards ceremony, compared to 25 parents that attended the previous annual event. Prior to the initiation of BSCIP, parents failed to attend the academic year end event.
- The community has chipped in to provide bricks for the construction of a new school staff room, signalling improved community commitment and participation in improving school infrastructure.