Malawi Pre-School Project Work
Finally, after more than 1 year in Lindersvold, it was time to leave Denmark and arrive to Malawi! It has been more than 3 years since Giovanna and I were last in Africa – our dream, our natural country! The first days spent in Chilangoma, Malawi were really weird for us. We felt confused because to be in Africa again just didn’t seem real to us. But after a week we adjusted and began to get used to the vibes and to the day to day life of the place.
Regarding our Pre-School Project, we spent the first 2 months visiting the 17 Pre-Schools belonging to this project together with Shaky (our Malawian supervisor). The 2 months of investigation were really important as we were able to develop our understanding of the following:
- The culture and behavior of the communities, the pre-school teachers – and the relationships between them, and DAPP (Development Aid from People to People) Malawi.
- The priorities and what needs to developed first or dedicate more resources to.
- We found out also, during this period, the most important characteristics of the projects.
We made our considerations about what it would take to bring sustainability.
- DAPP Malawi supports the development of simple and concrete projects taking into account the reality of the Malawian countryside. In fact, the agreement between the Communities and DAPP shows us a 50/50 cooperation. If we take as an example the development of the playgrounds. The community have to guarantee the manpower and collect the locally available materials such as branches, river sand, and small stones. On the other hand, we volunteers working on behalf of DAPP Malawi support with the other materials like cement, anti-termite, nails, ropes and paint. In this way the Communities will be able to manage the maintenance of the project without depending by the Mzungu… That’s sustainability!
In addition to the work in the fields, during the 7 months period already spent in Malawi, we have held an all day long Teacher’s Training workshop every last Friday of the month.
This is where we join together with the pre-school teachers in order to spend good time together doing different activities. We have organized games to play together in order to have something new and educational that will be taught to the pupils. We have organised presentations about some interesting and useful topics and created hand-made objects like dolls and puppets from reused and recycling material, useful for the next classes with the kids…
Thanks to the first two preparatory months at the project, we were able to decide our personal contribution as we noticed that just 3 pre-schools out of 17 have a playground!… And a pre-school without playground is just a building! During the age of 3-6 years, kids need to get together playing, socializing, developing their coordination skills and so on… therefore having an area dedicated to that, is more than needed. For those reasons, we decided to develop this playground project by raising funds from Italy and based on a budget. Until now we have built 5 playgrounds, together with the communities and our goal is to complete 8 before finishing the programme.
We are really satisfied to have chosen this project. There is nothing better than to work shoulder to shoulder with the communities, developing sustainable projects together.
There are the technical and strategic matters to deal with… the social and cultural ones, and also the satisfaction to leave that neglected area of the planet a bit better than before.
The smiles of the kids and the thankful hugs from the teachers and the committee members when we finish our job together just doesn’t have a price!
by Lucio and Giovanna – February Team 2017