RENAMA has installed solar PV system in the head teacher’s office and lights in 5 classrooms at each of the beneficiaries of 6 primary schools namely, Mphedzu, Chamasowa, Bvumbwe Model, Gombwa, Mtundama and Kwanjana primary schools in T/A Bvumbwe as it is one of the T/A’s that is benefiting from the project.
This initiative is enabling the targeted schools to offer evening classes and boarding session to ease challenges learners face at home as they do not have proper lighting for their studies.
Education is one of the sectors in Malawi which is struggling in realising sustainable development goals, as most schools have no access to electricity and reliable source of lighting hence affecting the education sector especially hard to reach areas where grid electrification is not available.
Renew’N’Able Malawi (RENAMA), a local NGO in Malawi with support from Scottish Government through International Resources and Recycling Institute (IRRI), is implementing a project of Sukulu Yowala, with an aim of improving education sector by providing solar power electricity in some schools of Thyolo District.
In the just ended Primary School Leaving Certificate (PSLCE), the schools were privileged with the electricity as they introduced camping for 3 weeks of schooling that the standard 8 students had, to cover for the time that was lost due to the Covid 19 holiday.
The other area that the project seeks to increase is the passing rate and selection rate into secondary schools for the learners and increase teacher retention rate.
The project is targeting standard 7 and 8 learners, who always require intensive training in preparation for primary school leaving certificate exams (PSLCE) however those pupils in lower classes are also benefiting from this initiative.
In the course of the implementation of this project, schools have used different approaches to the evening study sessions adapted to their local settings and circumstances which is done under close supervision of their teachers and guardians.
Other schools opened up their classes to all interested students to come and do homework and study at night depending on their circumstances. So far students from Standard 5 going up, who stay close to the school are using the lights to read and do homework up to 9pm in the evening. Interestingly, some students from nearby secondary schools are beneficiaries also as they come and study at the school as well.
A holistic approach is being used in delivering this project, in which it is engaging and sensitizing the communities, school authorities on measures to ensure long term sustainability after the project phases out. An income generating activity was introduced at the very beginning of the project in form of phone charging and barber activities in all the schools to ensure funds are available to maintain the equipment and replace the batteries in the long run.
The communities, parents, village heads and school authorities have been engaged, trained and included in the project implementation process to ensure that when the project time elapses, they are equipped and have been given the capacity to continue ensuring that the project delivers lasting benefits and impact to all students learning at each one of the 6 schools.