23 Aug Update: Education in Malawi, 2014
KEEP Update August 2014:
The Kabudula Education and Empowerment Project (KEEP) is completing its 3rd year and continues to be a success. Since the completion of the Kabudula Secondary School (KCDSS) library in January, 2013, the students at KDSS have continued to regularly use the library as a safe study space and for checking out books.
In January 2014 Minga funded the first ever on-site training for the KCDSS teachers. As rural secondary school teachers, it is difficult for them to get teacher training at all, let alone without the need to travel. All of the teachers at KCDSS attended a four-day training led by Malawian professional educators from the capital city, Lilongwe. This training was a huge success and provided Kabudula’s teachers an opportunity to update their knowledge in key subject areas and learn valuable teaching tools and techniques. The focus was helping them better prepare their students to pass the national exams, an area where students in Kabudula lag behind their national peers. From one of the teachers, Mr Dchdza: “The training was very helpful. It taught us many skills to help the students pass exams. It was excellent in all areas. My only request would be to continue it every year.” Given the success of the first teacher training, a second training is planned to take place soon.
The school has also recently hired a female teacher, Ms. Blessings Ackim. She brings to KCDSS and to KEEP many skills including: the ability to teach computer skills to all faculty and students, her strength as a female role model, her proficient communication through email, and her strong motivation to reach out to girls in particular, encouraging them to re-enroll or remain in school. She has also stepped forward as the new peer counselor mentor and has helped that program thrive. The peer counselors at KCDSS have recently helped convince 13 students to stay in school who were at high risk of dropping out. Minga is working with WAM to make sure that adequate scholarships are available to support students at risk of dropping out due to lack of school fees. Together we currently support 42 students at KCDSS by paying their school tuition.
We are continuing to develop methods to evaluate the impact of the KEEP project. We are still waiting to receive updated enrollment data and national exam results for KCDSS students this year. Overall we are encouraged by the on-the-ground reports from students and teachers and are committed to providing support to our partners for more robust project evaluation.