UNICEF to provide furniture to 200 secondary schools

In an effort to provide quality education for all, Malawi’s developmental partners, UNICEF and USAID, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for UNICEF to equip 200 secondary schools with furniture, including chairs and desks for students and teachers and laboratory stools, as part of the USAID’s Secondary Education Expansion for Development (SEED) project.

Under the SEED Project, USAID is constructing 250 secondary schools across the country.

The signing in ceremony took place in Lilongwe Rural West at Mkoko construction site, around Namitete Area on Thursday May 5, 2022 and it was graced by Malawi’s minister of education, Agnes NyaLonje.

Speaking during the event, USAID Malawi Mission Director Dr. Catie Lott said the US government is so much committed to providing tools and resources for young people to build their own successful futures and contribute to an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant nation.

Schwenk, Lott and NyaLonje

Lott said it is sad to note that in 2020/21 academic year, only 37 percent of qualifying students gained a secondary school placement; and more than 20,000 qualifying adolescent girls and young women were turned away from continuing their education beyond primary.

She then added that the SEED project is designed to address this gap by expanding classroom space in existing urban secondary schools and building brand new secondary schools in rural areas in nearly every district of the country.

“The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will be working with the Government of Malawi to expand opportunities so that youths, particularly adolescent girls and young women can contribute to their own, and their community’s development,” said Lott.

In his speech, UNICEF Representative for Malawi, Mr. Rudolf Schwenk said under the agreement his organization will invest $6 million into this SEED project for furniture for all the SEED schools in the country.

Schwenk further told the gathering that UNICEF is also committed to making sure that every child in the country is enjoying the right to quality education hence their coming in the SEED project and says over 47,000 secondary school students will benefit from the project.

While commending USAID and UNICEF, education minister Agnes NyaLonje who was the guest of honour, said through the SEED program, Malawian youths will gain skills they need to lead healthy and productive lives.

“On behalf of the Government of Malawi under the leadership of His Excellency Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, I would like to sincerely thank USAID and UNICEF for this partnership whose fruits will benefit the Malawi’s youths and power socioeconomic development of our nation,” explained NyaLonje.

She further indicated that to complement the infrastructure investment by USAID and UNICEF, her Ministry is undertaking comprehensive curriculum review to ensure that what teachers teach in schools is aligned with Malawi 2063 agenda.

NyaLonje further said her ministry has also embarked on reviewing how they teach foundational skills (at TTCs and early grades of primary) to ensure that the country lay a strong foundation of literacy and numeracy skills, thereby improving transition rate.

The US Government through USAID, put aside US$90 Million to be used for the SEED project.