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Mganja Secondary School for Girls and Reforestation Project, Mganja, Kachindamoto, Dedza, Malawi
Project plan – July 2018
1. Building and managing a Diocesan Community Secondary School for Girls in Mganja, Malawi. We aim to open the first part of the school in 2019.
2. Reforestation of part of the Mua Livulezi Forest Reserve by the pupils of the school in close cooperation with the community of the Mganja villages.
3. Establish a place for counselling, prayer and studies.
At present, there is no Secondary School in Mganja, although we find that there is great need for a Secondary School for girls. Therefore we want to establish a Secondary School for girls, including pregnant girls and young mothers. Apart from the government curriculum we want to give practical courses to help improve daily life for the girls and their (future) families. At the same time we want the school to be a model project for reforestation. A centre for counselling, prayer and studies is foreseen in the future.
There is no Secondary School in Mganja. Both the Government and the Diocese of Dedza do not have the funds to build a school. The community would like therefore to solicit funds abroad to build the school, so that the girls in our area can access Secondary School education, excel in life and grow as responsible mothers. A Dutch and a German organisation will be helping our community to find the funds for building and equipping the school.
At the same time, this school gives an opportunity for reforestation of part of our area. For the Mua Livulezi Forest Reserve has been cleared of most of the trees, for firewood en charcoal.
Many girls in and around our villages here in Mganja do not attend a Secondary School at all. Many even already drop out of primary school because of early pregnancy. The ones who do finish primary school have to go boarding for Secondary School elsewhere. Many of them get pregnant there.1 Girls who get pregnant are chased from existing secondary (boarding) schools and lose their chance at a Secondary School education. And a lot of girls that do finish primary school don’t go to a Secondary School at all, but stay at home because the parents do not find the money for boarding and school fees.
What do we want to achieve?
1. By educating our girls (also when they are pregnant) and young mothers the living conditions of these girls and women, but also of their families, will improve. As a result, the standard of living of our whole community will improve.
2. By learning the girls to grow, plant and take care of trees, they will learn how to make use of our forest in a sustainable way. This gives opportunities for the livelihoods of families and it will help with reforestation of this part of Malawi.
3. By providing a place for counselling, prayer and studies our whole community will benefit because of the help they can get in addressing our (psychological) daily problems.
Local research shows the following: The Mganja population comprises around 5,000 people. The number of girls at Primary School Mganja in Standard 8 by the end of 2015 was 611.
In 2015 66 girls in the age 13-19 in the Mganja area got pregnant. In 2016 the number of pregnant girls in the age of 13-19 was 51. Source: Mganja Health Centre
How do we want to achieve this?
1. By building and managing a Diocesan Community Secondary School for girls and young mothers in Mganja, Malawi.
2. By taking girls from remote areas to school by a schoolbus.
3. By additional curriculum with practical subjects such as home economics, nutrition, child care, cooking, organic farming, sewing, and the like.
4. By providing child care at the school, so that young mothers can attend lessons.
5. By growing, planting and caring for trees around the school grounds.
6. By establishing a centre for counselling, prayer and studies.
Who will benefit?
We expect that eventually a total of 400 pupils will be enrolled in the school: around 100 per form, 4 forms. The pupils will be our village girls, including pregnant girls and young mothers, who have no other opportunity for a Secondary School education. Our whole community will benefit if girls and mothers are better educated. Especially because Mganja Secondary School for Girls wants to extend the curriculum with practical courses that will be helpful in village life and income generating activities. Educating women will influence all villages directly. Our whole community will benefit from reforestation and the centre for counselling.
Is it necessary?
There is no nearby Secondary School in the area which makes our girls to have no choice but stay at home.
It is a felt need in the area. The Traditional Authority Kachindamoto as well as the village headmen are strong advocates.
The Diocesan authorities through the office of the Education Coordinator and the Chair of the Projects Committee have endorsed the idea and want to fully participate by taking up ownership of the lease. In this way the future of the project is guaranteed.
Through educating girls and young women in Secondary School subjects AND practical courses like child care, home economics, organic agriculture, sewing, healthy cooking and reforestation, the Mganja project is instrumental in reaching the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals2: 1: No Poverty, 2: Zero Hunger, 3: Good Health and Well-being, 4: Quality Education, 5: Gender Equality, 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities and 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.
The project is located in Mganja, a group of eleven villages in the Traditional Authority Chief Kachindamoto. The site is in walking distance for the pupils from Mganja. However, the source for pupils will be wider than the Mganja area. Within a distance of about 15 kilometres there are 10 Full Primary Schools. Girls leaving these primary schools can also benefit from Mganja Secondary School for Girls. As the school will be too far away for the pupils from these villages to walk on a daily basis, the project aims to run a school bus for these pupils.
Type of school and management
The Mganja Secondary School for girls will be a “Grant-in-Aid”-school. This means it will be a Catholic Church founded Community School that will be managed by the Mganja Board of Governors. Ownership deeds for the land will be in the name of the Dedza Diocese. The school will be built and maintained by the Mganja Board of Governors, with aid from donors, in close cooperation with the Diocese of Dedza.
The pupils will be taught all the subjects necessary to pass the examination of the MSCE’s: Malawi School Certificate of Education (as per government curriculum). The Mganja Board of Governors will add extra curriculum. Some of the subjects we want to teach are home economics, child care, organic (vegetable) gardening, sewing, cooking, building, carpentry and growing and planting (natural) trees against deforestation.
The school itself will at the start consist of three buildings: 2 school blocks of 4 classrooms each and 1 administration block. This means there will be 8 classrooms in total. We expect to have 100 pupils in each form. In the administration block there will be a staff room, offices, a library and a nursery. Toilettes will be situated outside the buildings.
Furthermore, the school needs a playground, football ground and staff houses. In the future there may be need of a hostel. For the purpose of education and reforestation the school will also have tree nurseries and model organic vegetable gardens.
Two foreign foundations are already raising funds by submitting project proposals to donor organisations in the Netherlands, Germany and Spain. The GF-Foundation was founded in Germany for the purpose of raising money for the Mganja Secondary School for girls. In the Netherlands Nazareth Foundation Malawi is the organisation that is raising funds. Several donors have already promised part of the amount needed. Furniture for the school (donation from the Netherlands) is already stored in a container in Mganja.
Please note that most donor organisations will only participate when they are sure about the lease of the land being signed in the name of Dedza Diocese.
Who are working together on this project?
ADC Chairperson Mr. B. Chokhotho, Box 48, Mtakataka
CDA Community Development assistant
Mr. F. Paliani, Box 48 Mtakataka, Agroup Mganja
Local village headmen, local community Mganja, Box 48 Mtakataka
Traditional Authority Kachindamoto, Mtakataka, Box 48 Mtakataka
Juliana Lunguzi, Member of Parliament Dedza-East, Lilongwe
The Bishop of Dedza, Diocese of Dedza, Box 80, Dedza
Fr. Isaac Mwazambumba, Chairperson Projects Committee Dedza Diocese
Mr. Z. Pengapenga, Educational Coordinator Diocese of Dedza, Box 80, Dedza
Sister Josefa Ng’ona, Nazareth, Jemusi Village, Mganja, Box 80, Dedza
Nazareth Foundation Malawi
Drs. Ineke Hendrickx, The Netherlands
GF Goeldner Foundation e.V.
Dr. Markus Göldner, Germany
Visualisations: Albert Kiefer
Photographs: Benjamin Jordan