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Goals for 2011 & 2012

The raising of $35,000 for the construction of a girls dorm for Kunjana School, addtional dorm facilities at Bandawe school and beds and mattresses for Nkhata Bay Secondary School. This is really needed, and the amount of money to make this all work is so small for the number of girls it will help. click for pdf




PROJECT LEGAL HOLDER                       :               THE SCHOOL TRUST,

                                                                                                KUNYANJA PRIVATE SECONDARY SCHOOL

                                                                                                P.O. BOX 66



AIDS                      :               Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome

CDSS                     :               Community Day Secondary School(s)

DEP                       :               District Education Plan

HIV                        :               Human Immuno Deficiency

JCE                         :               Junior Certificate of Education

KMS                       :               Kilometres

MANEB                :               Malawi National Examinations Board

MDG                      :               Millennium Development Goals

MSCE                    :               Malawi School Certificate of Education

PSLCE                  :               Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations

STDs                     :               Sexually Transmitted Diseases

UN CRC                :               United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child

  Executive Summary

Malawi has one of the worst records in the world in terms of secondary school enrolment at 24%.  60% of those that qualify for secondary education every year, do not make it to public secondary schools due to limited space.  As a result, they end up repeating their final year in primary school, creating a backlog of students, or go to private schools if they can afford one.  The rest just drop out of school.  This denies a lot of deserving pupils their basic right to education as provided for in the Bill of Rights in the Malawi Constitution.  A lot of good private schools charge a staggering amount of tuition fees that is not affordable to an average Malawian, however, they contribute a lot in supporting the government in making secondary schools accessible to a considerable number of young Malawians.

It is in this vein that Kunyanja Private Secondary School was introduced in Nkhata Bay district of the Northern Region of Malawi.  The school is not only one of the cheapest, but it offers quality education in quite pleasant surroundings with impressive buildings and most of the contemporary amenities like computers, for the 21st century student endowed in Critical Thinking.  The school has an excellent repute in the community, however, one of the challenges is that the results are not as impressive as the management would want them to be.  Part of the reason for such a challenge is that students travel long distances, at times over 20 kms to access the school.  This has resulted into some school drop outs, with the girls being the worst affected.

It is for this reason that the school has decided to build a contemporary girls’ hostel, as one way of easing the burden on girls and encouraging girls to continue with their education.  Apart from the long distance to school, girls are also affected by some harmful cultural practices and a hoard of multifaceted problems that are exacerbated by their staying at home, and which wouldn’t mostly occur, if the girls were in a boarding school. 

It is equally important that boys should also be in a boarding school as they also have similar challenges.  However, due to financial constraints, and the fact that the level of vulnerability in the girl child exceeds that of a boy, priority has been given to the girls, with the belief that the next available funding would cater for a boys’ hostel.


The girl child will be the primary beneficiary of the project, however, the parents, and the entire community will also benefit indirectly.  This will contribute largely to the development of the area and will be able to offer employment to local people and offer a sense of ownership through the community’s participation that would ensure ownership and acceptance of the project in their area.

It is also hoped that the success of the project could be internally replicated by having a boys’ hostel and could also be replicated externally and adopted as a best practice.



1.0         BACKGROUND

Kunyanja Private Secondary School is one of the very few secondary schools in Nkhata Bay district of Northern Malawi.  It is located in Mukandira Mng’oma village, Traditional Authority Mkumbira.  Unlike most secondary schools in the country, it boasts of impressive structures, a modern library that is well stocked with books and computers.  It is a relatively new school that was established in 2004 and offers quality education at a very affordable rate for local standards.  The school was created in order to address a huge need for the community in terms of providing further education for its children.  According to the District Education Plan (DEP) report of 2008 to 2011 [1] , there are 176 primary schools in the district with over 73 000 pupils.  Out of these, only less than 10% make it to secondary school because of the few secondary schools that are available in the district.  Selection to secondary school is therefore highly competitive, with the majority of those qualifying for secondary education being male.  The school was therefore formed to complement the government’s effort in promoting access to secondary education.  The following are some of the core objectives the school is premised on:

(a)   To promote government policy on education that is equitable to all citizens regardless of gender, political, religious or ethnic background

(b)  To assist the less privileged including orphans to have access to good quality education

(c)   To encourage school drop outs to return to school in order to attain desirable levels of educational qualification

(d)  To teach young people skills that help them prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other related STDs

(e)   To create opportunities for members of the community in order to positively contribute to the national development and the personal elevation of living standards

The school has an enrolment of 235 pupils, with slightly more boys than girls.  There are 119 boys against 116 girls.  Like any typical secondary school in Malawi, it provides four years of secondary education, Form 1 to 4.  Students undertake their Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) examinations after two years of secondary education, and they sit for their O levels, Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) in their fourth year.

The most recent results for MSCE had 36 students passing and 30 failing while for JCE, 71 passed and 40 failed.  During Monitoring and Evaluation of the school performance, the results indicated that the major cause of failure was attributed to the long distances that the students had to cover.  In the worst scenario, students had to walk over 20 kms each morning, every working day of the week, to school.  This situation affects both boys and girls, however, the worst affected are girls.  This, therefore, has prompted the school to build a modern girls’ hostel as one way of promoting education for the girl child in a country where illiteracy levels are highest amongst female than their male counterpart, at 52%, resulting in both feminisation of poverty and feminisation of HIV/AIDS.

According to the DEP report, the primary school enrolment for girls is lower than that of boys at 48%, and the school dropout is also highest amongst girls, resulting in fewer girls making it to secondary school.

2.0         Rationale

2.1         National Context

According to Jacobus De Hoop’s [2] findings, (p.6), in 2005, Malawi had the lowest net secondary enrolment in the world at 24%.  Hoop believes this is because the education policy in the country has concentrated so much on improving access to primary education, with the introduction of free primary education in 1994 skyrocketing the enrolment from 1.9 million to a whopping 2.9 million almost overnight, making the capacity of the secondary school very limited. He also claims that of the 100, 000 that qualify for secondary education, only 40% of those that successfully complete their Primary School Leaving Certificate Examination (PSLCE) on annual basis, make it to public secondary school.  The country has two categories of public secondary schools, the conventional boarding school which is the first tier and takes first class students while the second tier known as Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSS), takes students with lower grades.  The former are better schools in comparison to the latter.  Those that do not qualify for public schools either enrol in private secondary schools (which in most cases are even worse than the CDSSs, or if they are better, they have exorbitant tuition fees).

Hoop (p.9) quotes that in 2004, the Malawi National Examination Board (MANEB: which administers, PSLCE, JCE and MSCE national examinations) data indicated that 150 748 pupils wrote PSLCE and only 94 789 passed.  However, due to limited access to secondary schools, the Ministry of Education could only accommodate 39 090 pupils, 11 900 of these went into conventional schools while 27 190 were enrolled in CDSSs for the academic year 2005.  Here, the disparities in enrolment into conventional school as compared to a CDSS is evident.  This shows that only a small percentage of people have access to what is considered as quality secondary education since conventional secondary schools are considered as the best.

In his comparison, Hoop concludes that the students that perform the best and have a higher retention capacity and a strong improvement in student learning are usually those that come from the conventional school.  Amongst his reasons, he cites availability of more teachers and resources in comparison to other schools.  By his own admission, he did not do any research into the pupil background and capabilities.  Such a research, would have identified long distance as one of the core reasons as to why students in CDSSs do not perform well or have a higher dropout rate, in addition to his observation on lack of resources and human capital and overall poor condition of these schools.

In most of these schools, in terms of gender, it is the boys that perform well and are most likely to secure a place in the university as compared to girls.  Promoting education for the girl child must, therefore, be a priority in any school programming since it is the girl that suffers most in terms of fulfilling her right to education as stipulated in the United Nations Convention on the Right of a Child (UN CRC), a right, which is denied to most deserving young Malawians, especially girls, simply because there aren’t enough secondary schools in the country.  It is against such a background, that the burning need to have Kunyanja Secondary School arose.


2.2         Nkhata Bay Context

The statistics in Nkhata Bay indicate that between 2004 to 2008, more boys were selected to go to secondary school than girls even in schools where there was more enrolment of girls than boys.  However, the number of girls in each year was rising.

Figure 1 [3] : Selection of boys and girls to secondary school from 2004 to 2007

The following are some of the reasons why there is lower enrolment and high drop out for girls in comparison to boys:

(A)  Harmful cultural practices:       


There are a number of harmful cultural practices that affect the right to education for the girl child.  Girls are more involved in child labour through domestic work than boys, and they are more likely to miss school or turn up late for classes than their counterparts.  They register a higher number of absenteeism than boys.  In terms of palliative care or death in the family, the girls are more involved at home to take care of the sick or the siblings following death especially of a parent.  During puberty, when a girl starts menstruating, traditionally she is supposed to stay at home for a week or more than that secluded in a house with frequent visits from elderly women, teaching her how to behave as a grown up.  At times, she is told to stay at home for a month or over until she gets her second menstruation for fear that if boys or men at school walk behind her back, she might never have her second menstruation.  This indirectly acts as a sort of advertisement to men that the girl is of an age and that she could marry.  This has been one of the reasons for early marriage.  Through the same process, she also fees too old and embarrassed to go back to school as she is made to believe that she is different from younger girls, and is now a fully grown woman.


In the past, parents preferred to send boys to school than girls with the belief that girls will get married, although this is no longer a common practice, when parents are faced with the predicament of having to choose which child to send for further education due to financial constraints, priority is still given to a boy regardless of whether the girl is more intelligent than her brother.

(B)    Girls lack role model hence motivation for pursuing further education

Most white collar jobs, especially in the rural areas, are possessed by men.  One of the most common jobs in the rural set up is teaching.  According to the DEP report, only 26% of women are in this profession in Nkhata Bay district.

(C)  Long distance to school

The government recommends that there should be a school every 5 kms for children, however in some cases children walk as long as 20 kms.  Travelling such long distances has not only deterred the girl child, but it has also been risky in that some girls have ended in being raped.  In some cases, for instance in the rainy season, when it is slippery and all wet, the journey to school is even more difficult for the girl child.  This is one of the major reasons for the girl child’s lack of access to either primary or secondary school.

(D) Malawi has a ‘return to school’ policy for girls who have ever been married or have children.  This policy is for both the boy and the girl child.  However, this benefits boys more than it does girls.  This is because girls are mostly ridiculed by the community, especially if they commute to school on a daily basis than if they were in a boarding school, away from judgemental eyes of the adult world.

This being the case, Kunyanja Private Secondary School found it necessary to have a hostel for girls as a way of promoting the girl’s education and protecting her from some of the barriers like the ones cited above.


To have an increased number of girls accessing quality secondary education there by mitigating the circumstances of feminisation of poverty and HIV/AIDS and contributing in achieving MDG 3 which aims at promoting gender equality and empowering women and also MDG 4, MDG 5 and MDG 6.

Specific Objectives

1)     To have an increased number of girls in the school by September, 2012

2)     To raise awareness on the importance of sending a girl child to secondary school by September, 2012

3)     To have a modern girls’ hostel that could attract more girls to the school by September, 2012

The project will be beneficial to the community not only by making sure that its girl children have access to quality education, but it will also engage the community in the development of the hostel as a way of ensuring ownership through volunteering, i.e. moulding bricks but it will also offer employment to the local people, i.e. security staff, boarding masters/mistress etc.

Project Operation

It is estimated that all resources permitting, the project should take a maximum of 8 months, and should be ready by early September 2012, in readiness for the new academic year.  The project will be managed by a board of directors together with the headmaster.  The project will recruit a contractor, who will preferably bring his own team.

External Audit

An external Audit of the project will be carried.

The School’s Track Record

Kunyanja Private Secondary School has successfully implemented a similar project since it has built 4 classrooms, 2 laboratories, 1 library, in the past.  It has competitively, with transparency and accountability managed funds from previous donors like Masambiro Committee based in the UK with MK17 000 000.00.  According to our constitution, Article 8, any financial transactions follow the following guidelines:

a)      All monies received by or on behalf of the Trust shall be applied to further the aims of the Trust and no other purpose

b)     Monies received from donors shall be used in line with any donor restrictions applied to it

c)      The general funds of the Trust shall be under the control of the Board of Trustees.  These monies shall be allocated to the school or Project’s Management, and the Management respectively shall manage and expand these monies in accordance with the instructions of the Board of Trustees

d)     The Management may open a bank account subject to the approval and instructions of the Board of Trustees, the cheques drawn thereon to be signed in accordance with sub clause 8 hereof and shall submit termly accounts in respect of the Trust to the Board of Trustees

e)      The Board of Trustees have responsibility for maintaining proper books and financial records (as do the School and Project’s Management)

f)       The accounts book or any other record of the organisation shall be subject to audit annually by qualified, independent auditors appointed by the members at the Annual General Meeting and arranged by the Board Chair and Treasurer.  All audits shall take place in September of each year covering the preceding academic calendar

g)      The Board of Trustees shall designate, and shall be responsible for maintaining bank or bank accounts in which the general funds of the Trust shall be deposited, either on current or interest bearing accounts at its sole discretion

h)     Any bank accounts opened for the Trust shall be in the name of the Trust

i)       Any cheques issued shall be signed by at least three officers of the Board of Trustees (chairperson, secretary and Treasurer).  It should be stipulated that there should be 3 signatories – at least one should not be employed by the Trust.  Also, all Masambiro funds have to be signed off by the Masambiro representative on the Trust Board plus at least one other board member



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