By Vincent Gunde
An international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) fully registered by National Construction Industry Council (NCIC) buildOn, will embark on a project “Breaking the cycle of poverty, low expectation through service and education” constructing school blocks in Kasungu, Dowa, Ntchisi and Nkhotakota targeting 34,000 children by the year 2026.
BuildOn is targeting 34,000 children out of school and has been implementing school blocks construction projects in Senegal, Burkina-Faso, Mali and Malawi with support from Educate A Child in the project named “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty “and the goal is for improved, inclusive and equitability of education for out of school children.
The Ministry of Education helps to identify the most vulnerable communities for school block construction project with emphasis on children who have access to school but who are not enrolled and those who do not have access.
Briefing the District executive committee (Dec) in Dowa at a meeting held at the boma, buildOn Malawi Country Director McDonald Chiputula, said his organization is implementing the project to see children having access in primary education in line with Malawi Vision 2063.
Chiputula said the project will see to it that by the end of 2063, children of 12 years and below must have primary education that will be compulsory observing that it cannot be compulsory if they don’t have infrastructures to access education.
He said the project has three main focus areas; construction of school blocks, holding sensitization meetings for kids and parents to have knowledge of the importance of school and having Income generating structures to reduce absenteeism because of poverty and other factors for all children to return to school.
The Country Director said build on started construction of classroom blocks in Kasungu in 2021 saying the project will be completed in 2026 in Dowa and thereafter, the organization will continue building schools in the district until 30 percent saturation is accomplished.
He said the organization has plans to build 17 school blocks in Dowa district in the year 2024 saying all areas of the seven Traditional Authorities will be covered for children to access better and quality primary education in a new environment.
The Country Director said if communities are participating more and the cost of building materials are a little bit cheaper, the organization will build 18 or 19 school blocks but this will depend on the cost of materials saying 13,000 already done and by the end of 3 years, they will reach 34,000 children.
“By the end of the program, all learners of Dowa will have access to school for them to have a better future, 13,000 children already given access to school blocks and by the end of 3 years, we will reach 34,000 children,” said Chiputula.
Chiputula then, thanked the District executive committee for Dowa for being so supportive and giving guidance on how to do better expressing hope that with the support given, build on will achieve its intended outcomes in Dowa district.
In her remarks, Dowa District Council’s Director of Planning and Development Mercy Mpakule, advised buildOn to actively engage the office of the District Community Development (DCDO), and not starting construction of classroom blocks before submitting the project to the Department of Physical Planning.
Mpakule expressed hope that the project will assist in the reduction of illiteracy levels in the district also advising the organization to provide to Dec reports on the project’s progress and signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)with the council and CSO Network to enhance cooperation, transparency and accountability.