Primary School Block

  • Education
  • Youth
  • Women & Gender
  • Malawi
This project is led by Benjamin Sharaf, a Volunteer from Massachusetts

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The local primary school is applying for a grant that will build its first permanent school. The foundation and walls have already been built. The community has contributed 266,000 mk for what has already been done. They need about 825,000 mk. This is for cement, nails, wire, iron sheeting, lime, chalk boards, labor, and transport. We have gotten a nearby national park to donate the planks to help build the roof. The goal of building a permanent school block is to encourage more girls to come to school, make the primary school a more conducive learning environment, and to promote higher education among young girls. If this school block is built, girls will see how the community and government is investing in them to higher their education. This school block will also be used by a local mothers group for a variety of different activities. This includes young girl empowerment clubs.

The community is the main reason why the primary school is in existence. They fought for a closer primary school to improve the learning of their children and now are doing it again to improve the quality of learning. The community leaders led the push to get a primary school in the area and are now just as motivated to improve the development of the community. They encouraged the rest of the community to donate the money for the bathrooms and the already existing unfinished school block. The community leaders understand that in order to improve the quality of life, you first need to invest in educating the youth. Meetings are easily organized by them when a new idea is suggested or funds need to be raised. This encouragement will be continued especially as this new block begins further construction. The teachers at the local primary school have also been instrumental to this process. They have shown a commitment and passion that could not be matched. They have participated throughout this entire process. They have outlined the most important needs of the learners to the village head mans and attended all the meetings. They have also been able to ask on my behalf everything that I needed from the community and conveyed the guidelines of this project perfectly. They have helped me translate what the community members are saying and have made this process so much easier.

In addition to community leaders and teachers, the community members have also played a significant role in getting the primary school to the next step. Over 38 members from each family of the community have attended all the meetings and have promised to continue to do so. Thousands of bricks were molded and laid to form walls in preparation for the materials we will get from the grant. The community has also given financial support when necessary or available. Overall, the community has already contributed 266,000 mk in just a matter of 1 year. Community leaders, teachers, and members will also be contributing to the work behind the scenes. Encouraging people to come to meetings, supporting the project, negotiating contracts, bringing materials over long distances, and most importantly, making sure the project is being done efficiently and in a timely manner. The entire community realizes that change can only happen if you do something yourself. Waiting for change is as good as nothing.

The stakeholders of this project include community leaders, students, teachers, and really the entire community. The key members of this project have agreed to meet once a week while the project is being worked on, but also have agreed to meet once the project is finished. These meetings will be dialed back to once a month, but will still be very important. These meetings will ensure the upkeep of the new block and ensure that it will be there for many years to come. The village headman is very motivated to improving development around the community and is constantly asking for community contribution to help with the upkeep of the current temporary school blocks. He has promised to use the future contributions to make sure this new school block will be in tip top conditions. All the valued materials that are kept inside this new school during the day will be moved to the teachers building at school end. This locked building will ensure there will be no thefts and things will stay in great quality.

If promises are fulfilled, the benefits of the school block will be felt by students for many years to come. Female learners will begin to enjoy sitting in class and will feel as if they belong. They will feel that their elders are investing in them. I hope that once this project is completed that the motivation will be there to build even more permanent school blocks. I hope the payoff will be immediate enough that even more outside sources will contribute to this up and coming primary school. It is unfair to ask learners to continue with higher education in the conditions that they are currently. In order to make something great, you need to put resources into it. This school block will hopefully start a new chain of events that will transfer education to the priority. By maintaining this school block, and helping resonate with the community that education is extremely important, we can hopefully help change the lives of many future female learners at the primary school. This will mark an important milestone in development for the community.

Community Contributions
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