With students heading back to school this week and International Literacy Day on the 8th September, we wanted to share some of our work on improving education in northern Malawi and to introduce you to the amazing people involved, like Fishani…
Fishani is our Senior Project Officer for Education and Health, he has been with Temwa for 7 years. Fishani is from Chikwina, an area where Temwa work. After finishing school, Fishani wanted to work with his community on ways to overcome the challenges and issues they face.
‘As someone who had come out of school, I wanted to help and have a leading role in the community’
Fishani passionately believes that education is crucial to the development of Nkhata Bay North.
‘Children who are educated now, they are the people who will develop the communities with their knowledge. More education in the communities will bring development in the catchment area’.
Fishani has been busy over the summer months overseeing and coordinating the education and health programmes. Some of the educational activities conducted over the summer period include a Spelling Bee competition in Usisya as part of the Early Grade Literacy programme, the arrival of computers in the Usisya library, training the Usisya library staff in computer skills, providing computer literacy training to community members in Usisya, facilitating Teen Club meetings and monitoring activities.
Temwa’s community library which serves the Usisya area, is equipped with fiction and non-fiction books, newspapers and newly procured computers. With the arrival of the computers this summer, the Temwa library staff have been trained in computer skills, and are providing computer literacy training to community members.
Temwa also has an Early Grade Literacy programme, to develop literacy skills in primary school students. Our Early Grade Literacy programme recognises the importance of providing children with a strong foundation at the very start of their educational journey.
‘We understand that education starts at a lower level, if we improve education while children are very young, their performance is going to be very good’
In July, the Spelling Bee was a large success attracting 530 children, learners and community members, to watch children compete in a spelling competition. The Spelling Bee encouraged the active participation of children in literacy activities. Fishani notes that the Spelling Bee has inspired other students to study and attend the community library, in the hope that they become participants in the next Spelling Bee. The Spelling Bee competition is encouraging learning in a fun and energetic way from a young age.
Through the Nick Webber Trust scholarships, Temwa supports 31 students through their secondary education. Secondary education is not free in Malawi, these scholarships provide students an opportunity to continue their education. As it has been the school summer holidays in Malawi, Fishani has been taking this opportunity to conduct monitoring home visits to the students who receive these scholarships.
Learning and raising awareness is at the centre of Temwa’s health programmes. Fishani attended the Teen Club Meetings which took place over the summer. The Teen Club Meetings teach and inform teenagers who are HIV positive and their guardians, about healthy lifestyles, Sexual and reproductive Health issues and ART adherence, through the use of interactive games and psychosocial counselling.
Over the last seven years working with Temwa, Fishani has seen first-hand the changes that have taken place. Some of these key changes are the advances in agriculture practices, knowledge around deforestation, behaviour change in relation to HIV/AIDS, a raised awareness of the importance of education and an increase in people able to have small scale businesses.
Fishani and the team are delivering strong education programmes to Nkhata Bay North, which are facilitating educational growth and development in the area. In the words of Fishani:
‘Education is the key to any kind of success’
Temwa would like to thank all those supports and donors that have made these fantastic programmes possible.
If you would like to support this work so that we can help support even more communities to improve their education, find out how you can give today.