In Malawi, Seibo’s office is located in Chilomoni, Southern Malawi. However, with many of our school feeding partners based in Northern Malawi we regularly visit to monitor the situation. This report covers our visit from the 25th to the 28th of April.
Issues of Concern
Development Fund: The Ministry for Education recently issued a directive to schools to stop collecting funds via what is known as the ‘development fund’. Recently this issue came to national attention when 2 students at a school in the nation’s capital were injured in a riot apparently caused by concerns relating to the school’s development fund. This will significantly affect Seibo partner Primary Schools as funds raised under the auspices of the school’s ‘development fund’ is often used to pay cooks when volunteers can not be found in the community. In particular this will affect Kazengo, Mzimba LEA, Kaphuta, Davy, Kazomba & St. Paul’s.
Replacement Stoves: Many of the stoves used in Seibo kitchens have been in use since 2016 and in some cases have undergone maintenance and repair in 2019. We are already providing additional stoves to schools that have seen an increase in student enrolment numbers, such as Kazengo & Kaphuta. In exceptional cases (as in Kabuku), we have even seen incidents whereby stoves that have been repaired in 2019 are now beginning to leak, etc.
Worsening Economic Situation: Increasingly schools are reporting students dropping out of school and have each provided examples of work that is attracting young learners out of primary school. Some of the many examples cited include; selling charcoal, herding cattle, molding bricks or working as taxi drivers.
On this visit there were several requests for assistance, as follows:
1. Kurya Ndiko Uko: A Mzimba-based CBO are seeking assistance to put a roof on their ‘Mbana Mbatonse’ ECD (Early-Years Childcare Development) Centre, and are also again requesting support for school feeding at their nursery. The estimated cost for the roof is approximately 7 million Malawian Kwacha (currently around USD 8,500).
2. Mzimba District Hospital: The hospital’s Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit was very appreciative of a recent donation of flour for use as breakfast for in-patients. The hospital are asking Seibo for a regular food donation of around 200 kgs per month to help them assist patients who are discharged with supplementary feeding.
3. Kazomba Primary School: Around 3 year ago heavy winds blew the roof off a classroom block and also damaged part of the building. Although schools are government funded the government allocation to repair the roof will stall fall short of what they need. Seibo has previously told the school that when the funds arrive from the government we should take a look at how much the shortfall is and see if we can work together. To date no funds have arrived from the government.
4. St. Paul’s Primary School: This particular school has been an exemplary partner and ‘model school’ when it comes to operating a school feeding programme. Volunteer cooks arrive at 2am in order to prepare breakfast. As a result, all learners are fed by 7:30am and ready to start lessons. Their feeding area is always well kept; clean, cemented with painted walls. In addition, records are always well kept and staff are helpful. They have just begun a fundraising campaign to build a new classroom block and are reaching out to all partners to assist their cause.