Team Malawi 2023's Visit - Progress Updates

Rotarians Terry Atkinson, Gordon Roan, John Saynor & David Sparrow set off to Malawi on 15th March2023 (Rotary Becket's 35th Birthday!) Revisit this page for regular updates

Team Malawi

Team Malawi: David Sparrow, Terry Atkinson, John Saynors & Grodon Roan

Dateline 15th March 2023

Terry, Gordon, John and David all assembled at our Breakfast Meeting at Overstone Park before packing their bags with - not only their cloathing - but educational aids (pictured) to be included in our Classroom Box Project for Schools in Malawi.

Also present at this mornings's meetinge were many Rotary Becket Members who had been invoved in previous visits to the country

David Sprrow - Lynn Kitchen -Terry Atkinson - John Saynor - Gordon Roan - Geoff Williams - Ian Hill - Roy Adams

Terry, Gordon, John and David are due to fly off this evening.

They will be arriving at a time when the country has suffered it's worst cyclone (Storm Freddy) in years which has mainly hit the south of country around Blantyre (four hours drive from Lilongwe where the Team will be staying)

Dateline 16th March 2023 - Day 2

We landed in Malawi this morning ready for our adventure. Would you believe it started talking to a young man at the Visa desk, turned out that he came from Spinney Hill! What a small world.

At the end of the day we attended a meeting held by the Rotary Club of Lilongwe City Centre. The most recently established club chartered in November 2021. Past Presidnet John Saynor presented a Rotary Becket Banner.  An enthusiastic and youthful group too.

Dateline 18th March 2023

We had a great trip to Chipiti school Friday morning,  saw us visit Chipiti school, where we had previously built 6 classrooms. School attendance is now up to 1500 learners. 

Typical class has 120 pupils and 1/2 teachers. The children were delighted to meet our group, with smiles that will provide lasting memories. We finished the visit with a small presentation of materials which will be supplemented with a larger classroom box delivery in a couple of months.

Whilst at the school we asked about supply of text books. The Malawi Education board provide learners at grades 1-4 with a text book per pupil. When we asked about grades 5-8 we were told supply wasn't mandated. We then asked how many text books they had to share amongst a class and the reply was they only had one book per subject held by the teacher!! More on this subject later next week.

Classroom Box Matterials delivered to Chatipi School

Rotary Plaque fixed to a classroom built bt Rotary Becket

Clildren wellcoming Team Malwi

After visiting Chitip School on Friday, Team Malawi had  3 hour delay trying to change vehicle! Left Lilongwe at 3pm, took 5 1/2 hours to reach our lodge at Cape Maclear, second half of journey horrendous, storm  mile upon mile of multiple potholes. Last 7km on dirt road half washed away.

At Cape Maclear we had some leisure time before a busy Rotary week. Spent the afternoon on the lake and was then entertained by the Chembe drumming group. An amazing group, both musically and as individuals. Good luck for the future guys. Jason, Harry, Stephen David, Mike, Peter and Richard

Dateline 19th March 2021

Yesterday morning we had a guided tour of Chembe & Cape Maclear village by Gibson. Interestingly all of the guides in the village have formed a co-operative to share the tours rather than compete against each other. 

The village survives on 70% fishing and 30% tourism. So the last three years have been very tough with little or no tourists.

Team Malawi arrived back in Lilongwe this afternoon after a great trip to Cape Maclear, Lake Malawi. If you think the roads in Northampton are bad take a look at these.

Dateline 20th March 2023

This morning we visited two primary schools, Mwenyekondo and Mtsiliza where we received another great reception from the young children.

Some photos of Mwenyekondo and Mtsiliza primary schools. With class sizes of 100+, it's amazing to see how attentive and keen to learn the children are. Most write into their exercise books resting it on a knee, with a few of the older grade 8 learners sharing a desk. Also met the grade 8 teachers Alison and Martina, who were exceptional individuals.

Dateline 21st March 2023

Today we visited two schools where we installed self composting agrisan toilets. 

The urine is collected, sealed for 10 days, diluted with water ten parts to one and the used as a nitrogen fertiliser. The stools are collected in sealed above ground chambers, left for six months, whilst the other is in use. The arch opening is broken open and the waste is used directly on the fields as manure. Please look in particular at the two photos of maize, the first is a control field unfertilised. The second is a fertilised crop, the resulting difference is amazing.

Dateline 22nd March 2023

Apart from inspecting the Agrisan toilets at M'Bingwa today, the purpose of the visit was to present the school with educational materials. The whole school, village chiefs, mother group and PTA attended the presentation. The involvement of the community in supporting the school is exceptional.

Dateline 23rd March 2023

Today we were invited by the Rotary Club of Bwaila Rotary Club to attend the launch of the Rotary Family Health Days Initiative at Mitundo Community Hospital.The event was launched by Malawi Minister of Health. This is a three day event open to the community to get Health checks.

Another amazing discovery this evening at the hotel during dinner. Whilst speaking to one of our waiters, she confirmed that she had received materials from one of our classroom box deliveries ten years ago. She also said they had helped her schooling. A few questions revealed that virtually all of the restaurant staff remembered receiving supplies.

Rotary Becket have been sending classroom boxes to Malawi for over 15 years, which has helped over 180,000 learners. Today we met the living proof of this achievement. 

Dateline 24th March 2023 - THE FINAL DAY

We visited Mchengenwiza Primary School this morning, completing the whistle stop review of the Agrisan toilets project. This was the best example of the toilets being used to their full potential. The local community have been so pleased with them that they commissioned and built a third block. The school was also able to demonstrate best practice during the recent cholera outbreak and allowed to remain open whilst most schools in the district were forced to close.

We were also able to see an impressive pile of composted manure from the waste chamber and the improved impact on the crops.

The final visit of our Malawi expedition was a return visit to Chipiti School. Following the earlier visit last week when we discovered grades 5 - 8 only had one text book per class, we have scoured the country and managed to purchase a set of books covering the key subjects, Chichewa, English, Maths and Science  which will enabling sharing on a group basis of 1 book per 5 learners. These were presented to the school amongst great excitement.

We also took to opportunity to test the school and communities reaction to the provision of solar light library at the school enabling learners to borrow a light to do home learning. The proposal was approved by the communities and Rotary Becket will fund a pilot scheme of 40 lamps.


Related pages...

Agro Toilets

Ecco Toilet Project in Malawi - August 2020 Update

more Rotary Becket ar helping in the funding and building of Agro-Toilets (Ecco Toilets) in schools in Malawi in conjunction with local Rotary Clubs

Class under a Tree

Rotary Becket 2023 Malawi Classroom Project

more Read more about our latest project to support Chitipi School

The Outdoor classroom

Malawi Classrooms Build 2015

more This is the story of our clubs project which built 6 additional classrooms in a rural school

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Team Malawi

International Projects & Rotary Becket

back Our support for International projects