Project information

Building a Better School Environment in Malawi

Develop Malawian schools by improving resources so that 13,000 children have books and equipment to achieve in literacy, numeracy, science and sports, and 200 teachers and school heads have the vital tools for training and classroom teaching.

January 2016 - June 2017

Charity information: School Aid

School Aid logo
  • Need


    Malawi’s low education standards prevent the next generation from finding work and contributing to growth. Schools are overcrowded and under-resourced and class sizes can reach 400 children. Under-trained teachers have few materials to prep classes and lack opportunity to develop their own skills, losing motivation. Without books, pencils or even chairs, children who cannot read or sit exams drop out of school, leaving illiterate parents powerless to help them - carrying on a cycle of poverty.


    Working in partnership with Malawian schools to assess their individual development goals, we collect and sort relevant, high-quality surplus books, stationery, furniture and sports equipment from British schools for container shipment to Africa. Established local partnerships ensure that the resources reach their destinations and are used effectively by children and teachers to improve literacy, numeracy, teacher training and the overall quality of education.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Enable 13,000 Malawian children to have access to books & school equipment for studies & activities


    » Source, sort and ship high-quality books, stationery, school furniture & sports equipment from British schools and donors

    What success will look like

    New classroom and school libraries, more children reading, improved literacy and English skills, access to books to take home, and more students staying in education.

    Aim 2

    Enable 200 teachers in Malawi to have educational materials for planning & classroom teaching.


    » Supply 35 primary and secondary schools in Malawi with 40,000 reading, reference, and text books.

    What success will look like

    Accessible teacher resource areas and improved quality of classroom teaching and learning, and motivated teachers who stay in school.

  • Impact


    The long-term benefits are better educated people who strengthen their communities. This is demonstrated by increased literacy rates, more children moving from primary to secondary school and higher teacher and student retention rates. It also improves community literacy as books are taken home - skills linked to improved health and well-being and better working opportunities. We regularly evaluate the use of school resources through questionnaires, interviews and visits to inform strategy.


    There is risk of funding shortfall but School Aid has a varied funding stream for reliability. There are also some logistical risks of delay in the shipment process, but School Aid’s experienced network is very knowledgeable about this route and has partners in place in Malawi for support.


    Donors will receive letters and regular reports of project progress via newsletters, our website, Facebook and Twitter.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £4,500 Resource collection & process Collection, sorting, packing books and other school equipment
      £6,800 Resource shipping Container shipment from UK to Malawi port & distribution
      £7,000 Project management Project liaison and delivery with UK and African partners, logistics and operations
      £1,700 Monitoring & evalauation Evaluation of use of resoures with teachers and children
  • Background


    Land-locked Malawi is one of the poorest countries on earth and has struggled with underdevelopment, natural disasters, and high levels of corruption in government. It currently ranks 155 of 205 in global literacy rates. Currently 50% of children who start primary school in Malawi drop out before they finish with the average 75 pupils to one teacher. High rates of HIV-Aids hamper efforts to recruit and train teachers in addition to lack of tertiary training support.


    13,000 primary and secondary school students currently with little access to books or libraries will benefit, as well as 200 educators. This supply of educational resources allows the whole school community to improve standards, raising morale and improving teacher and student retention rates. It is a sustainable community resource which will provide long term educational benefit far beyond the 13,200 children and teachers who will receive books this year.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Founded in 1998, School Aid supports the education of over 80,000 African children each year in Lesotho, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa. It has been working in Malawian schools since 2012 around Dedza. Over the past decade it has sourced, packed and shipped more than 710,000 books and 220,000 items of furniture, sports equipment and school resources to 350,000 children in 650 disadvantaged schools to meet the specific requests of individual schools and support their students and teachers.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Janis Mowlam

    Chairman of Board. Founded School Aid S Africa and lived in Malawi. Board member School Aid S Africa and responsible for African strategy.

    Clare Junak

    General Manager. Management of all UK operations and African programming. Project management, partnerships, resourcing and shipments.

Those who dropped out of school are now back because they see the books we borrow from the library

Student, Dedza, Malawi