Project information

Rural Malawi-Educational Reform & Social Mobility

Datum has built and funded the Chisala secondary school over the past 3 years. It currently teaches forms 1&2 (200+pupils) and forms 3&4 are now required to finish the school. Datum has secured funds to open form 3 later this year however funding for form 4 and to finish the school is still required

January 2018 - September 2018

Charity information: Datum Foundation

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  • Need


    In rural Malawi access to secondary education and qualifications are not accessible to the overwhelming majority of the population. The area is characterised by: extremely poor subsistence farmers marginalised due to their lack of access to education and training; disadvantaged children and young adults further restrained by social attitudes and behaviours; teenage pregnancy; high incidence of HIV; food security and limited access to any future employment other than agricultural labouring.


    The project will enable the completion of the secondary school which will be relied upon by 7 district primary schools who would not otherwise have access to a secondary education. When completed it will cater for 400+ students with onsite accommodation for 78 girls and 50 boys. This will significantly increase economic empowerment which will deliver a long term solution for sustained poverty reduction for them and their families. The multiplier effect of this will reach thousands of families

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Complete the secondary school started by Datum to enable the full national curriculum to be taught


    » Build a modern class room block to allow form 4 entry in September 2018 and to enable existing forms 1,2 and 3 to complete their secondary education
    » Starting with form 4 supply the equipment and technology required across the school to provide the perfect environment for teaching and learning
    » Renovate a disused building into a sports pavilion to provide suitable facilities and build netball and football courts and pitches for the students
    » Train existing and new teachers to maintain and improve standards with the intention of providing a first class secondary school

    What success will look like

    If the funding is received to enable the form 4 class block to be completed by September 2018 the first formally qualified local secondary students (100+) will qualify in 2019

    Aim 2

    Economic empowerment to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups through educational reform


    » Provide students with access to a modern educational facility rarely seen in rural Malawi giving villages in the surrounding area access to higher ed
    » Support entrepreneurial skills and business creation amongst the students and young adults thru vocational skill training in work shops built by Datum

    What success will look like

    With the majority of children and young adults traditionally going on to agricultural labouring a monitoring system by the community will track school leavers demonstrating change

    Aim 3

    Forge strong links with community committees and existing businesses


    » Close collaboration with local community groups and parents associations, along with the build being performed by local builders
    » Supporting theses groups with professional skills and enabling them to ensure long term success and sustainability thru independence

    What success will look like

    Establishing partnerships within the community and parent teacher associations that will hold the school to account maintaining the schools standards for the community it serves

    Aim 4

    Promote awareness of health, disease and nutritional measures to prevent avoidable illness and death


    » Promote health education and awareness in the school and promote the use of the medical and maternity wards Datum renovated/built on an adjacent site
    » To use the school as the focal point of the community and surrounding villages to educate not only the children and young adults but all generations

    What success will look like

    Obtaining feed back from the local doctor and maternity nurse who Datum have worked closely with over the years to improve facilities, build housing and provide medical supplies

  • Impact


    The projects legacy will be a modern fully equipped self sufficient secondary school rarely seen in the heart of rural Malawi providing education for over 400 children per year from 7 feeder primary schools. It will provide local children, who's families can not afford to send them away to boarding school, a secondary education and help lift them out of the cycle of poverty and subsistence farming. The school will be held accountable by local community and future ongoing costs met by government


    The biggest risks are the failure to attract teachers, control costs and completing the build. These are all mitigated by the experience the Datum ambassadors have in working, identifying and delivery projects in rural Malawi. The current success of the partially finished school demonstrates that these risks have been successfully dealt with. To date Datum has raised and spent £170,800 on the school over coming these risks and more as evidenced by the 200+ students currently receiving tuition


    The Datum trustees and chair regularly scrutinises all of its projects and they are lead by volunteer ambassadors for the foundation who give their expertise and time for free. In October each year the trustees visit the project and prepare a written report on progress. These are shared with donors

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £24,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £8,000 building materials brick making, sand, wood. steel
      £5,000 labour all labour is employed from the local comunities
      £2,500 outfitting tables, chairs, desks, store rooms, black boards, shelves, sports equipment
      £2,000 solar supply and instalation
      £1,500 it equipment Second hand lap tops for classrooms
      £2,000 Transport material and equip Chisala is a rural school an hour away from any large towns only accessible by 4x4 and trucks
      £1,500 educational supplies science lab equipment, books and teaching materials
      £1,500 teacher training additional training of qualified teachers to ensure consistently high standards across all forms
  • Background


    Rural village of Chisala is in the Nkhata Bay district in the Northern Region of Malawi. The district as a whole has completion rates for secondary education of 6% of children. The site was chosen by Datum after it was identified as having the greatest need locally for a secondary school following consultations with the Education Authority & local community groups. The community comprises predominantly of the rural poor who are subsistence farmers with little or no access to secondary education


    The target groups are disadvantaged children and young adults who are further restrained by social attitudes and behaviours, teenage pregnancy, high incidence of HIV, food security and very limited access to any future employment other than agricultural labouring. Close collaboration with local community groups and parents associations, along with the build having been performed by local builders, has given the community a sense of pride and empowerment which will ensure its continued success

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Datum's ambassadors/volunteers all give their expertise & time for free. They are passionate about the projects undertaken & the need for sustainability long after completion. 100% of the funding received will be spent directly on the project locally and the budget demonstrates what can be achieved by experienced builders and project managers. As this is the final phase of an ambitious project started in 2015 execution risks have been addressed and this represents a unique opportunity for change

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mr Brewer - Volunteer

    Project manager. Builder by profession with 10 years experience building and renovating schools, medical clinics and maternity wards in rural Malawi

    Mr Buchanan - Chairman Of Datum Foundation

    Project control, scrutiny, monitoring and reporting to trustees and donors. London based Architect by profession and founder of the Datum Foundation

    Mr Banda - Partner

    Head master of the secondary school responsible for running and maintaining school. When Datum move on from Chisala he will ensure continued success