IntroductionThe overall aim of the project is to provide organisational support to offset the cost of H.E.L.P.’s current education programme as it builds the capacity for a sustainable future of the teacher assistant programme. H.E.L.P. is developing a strategic plan to construct two dormitories for the upcoming Machinga Teacher Training College partnership, which will provide Nanthomba with 12 student teachers throughout the academic year to decrease the pupil-teacher ratio.
Researcher: Jillian WolsteinRegion: Malawi
Organization: H.E.L.P. Malawi
H.E.L.P. (Hope, Educate, Love and Protect) is a non-profit NGO that operates in Malawi. H.E.L.P.’s mission is to develop the pathway for children living in rural regions of Africa to become integral members and leaders in society through quality education. HELP is committed to cultivating the academic potential of each child through a comprehensive range of opportunities in primary school to prepare students for the next level of education, and to support those efforts through secondary school scholarships. Our partnership with the responsible eco-tourism and conservation company Wilderness Safaris helps us to bring our vision of rural development to the most remote regions in Africa.
BackgroundH.E.L.P. (Hope, Educate, Love and Protect) is a non-profit NGO that operates in Malawi. H.E.L.P. is dedicated to sustainable primary education in impoverished African regions. Its model trains community members to become inspiring teachers while improving the level of education in primary schools. H.E.L.P. ensures that all students are provided with the necessary nutrition and healthcare that they need to receive an excellent education and a happy, healthy childhood. H.E.L.P. has partnered with Wilderness Safaris, to bring its vision of rural development to the most remote regions in Africa.
It currently supports Nanthomba School near Liwonde National Park. The students at the Nanthomba Full Primary School are primarily local orphans, children from local villages, and children of National Park employees. Originally, the school began with 320 pupils. To date, due to the eagerness and excitement of an education, the school has over 900 students. H.E.L.P., in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, assists this school and three other community schools (Kavunguti, Kafulafula, and Mlambe) with teacher aides. H.E.L.P. also provides teachers with stipends and training, which contribute to the upgraded educational standards of the facility. H.E.L.P. has recruited assistant teachers to address the shortage of teachers, due to the high enrolment in the four schools.
ObjectivesCurrently Nanthomba operates above the recommended 60:1, pupil-teacher ratio that is recommended by the Ministry of Education in Malawi. Since 2006, H.E.L.P. has intervened at the school to transform it into the highest ranked and best performing full primary in the Balaka District, but there is much still to do. Decreasing the pupil-student ratio is vitally important not only for the students but for the productivity and retention of teaching staff. Governmental reports show that a lower pupil-student ratio increases the likelihood of graduation, decrease the drop-out rate, and increases the retention of teaching staff. Ancillary projected benefit can also be seen through community outreach objectives.
Project objectives are not just limited to the sustainable funding of 15 full-time employees who operate to educate the next generation of Malawian leaders. Over 95% of households in the area are subsistence farmers who usually grow maize, legumes, and vegetables for food and commercially grow cotton that does not necessarily fetch enough money for their families. People in the Balaka district where Nanthomba operates generally do not value the education system as much as other social and economic activities such as: fishing, poaching, and farming. Currently, 930 students receive a nationally recognised and distinguished education at the school, but that is met with resistance by some community members. This is where the educational programme staff steps in, not only to advocate for the continuity of a student’s education, but also as community organisers who travel throughout the Balaka district to send the message that education is important and a universal right of their children.
Additionally, these efforts are shown to decrease illegal activity of community members as a means of economic advancement (i.e. poaching) as education becomes a primary focus of advancement. The second objective of this funding comes from this very activity that is needed desperately; to fund educational programme staff not only for their primary role, but also to support their efforts as school and child advocated throughout the region.
HELP Malawi requested operational support of a monitoring and evaluations officer who overlooks all programme activities on the ground in Malawi. Securing and providing operation costs for this position will enable H.E.L.P. to thoroughly measure progress of assistant teachers as well as the development of the Teacher Trainer’s College partnership. The grant enables H.E.L.P. to establish a more sustainable means of educational intervention as the Teacher Trainer’s College, after an initial investment, will provide 12 teacher trainees per year at no cost to the organisation, effectively eliminating the cost of 9 uncertified assistant teachers as well as an underutilised member of our Malawi-based staff.
Tangible outputs include: higher retention of students and staff, lower dropout rates of primary school-age students, and increased number of community members engaged in the education programme through Nanthomba Full Primary. Additionally, graduation rates will be measured and are projected to increase as the pupil-teacher ratio decreases. It is H.E.L.P.’s goal to see a 100% retention and graduation rate. This project will provide integral organisational resources to actualise our efforts.
The Trust provided funds to enable H.E.L.P. to guarantee three-month salaries for 12 staff in Malawi who serve in three functional areas: monitoring and evaluations, secondary school pre-training, and assistant teaching. Funding of this initiative has therefore provided the resources to sustain the current educational programme for three months as H.E.L.P. secures the funds for the next stage of the Teach Training College partnership.
May 2013: A New Vehicle
Both H.E.L.P. Malawi’s vehicles were inoperable and beyond repair. It was thus essential that a reliable vehicle was procured; Wilderness Trust funded some of the cost for this vehicle and Mvuu Lodge has continued to donate vehicle maintenance and care.
The overall aim for the grant is to procure a safe and reliable vehicle for H.E.L.P. Malawi programmes and projects. With a new vehicle in place H.E.L.P. Malawi will be able to be more effective in the following areas:
- Ensuring deliveries to Mvuu Camp and Lodge (such as vegetable produce) from the community as income-earning initiative are consistent.
- Assist H.E.L.P. staff members to procure essential materials and transport supplies and goods to complete community building projects and school support projects.
- The vehicle will also be used to transport staff to and from meetings in Lilongwe and in the case of emergency health care transport to clinics.
- Ride-sharing with Mvuu Camp/Lodge staff when traveling to/from Lilongwe or other areas on business.
- The vehicle would also be available in case an emergency arises with a guest or staff member of Mvuu Camp or Lodge who needs immediate hospital care.