Dwalala Primary School
Dwalala Primary School is a rural school in Malawi’s Kasungu District and has an enrolment of over 700 students. Like most rural schools in Malawi, pupils came to school hungry and did not have access to water, electricity, or adequate sanitation. With the generous support of IAPW, we were able to partner with the school’s staff, students, and parents to transform Dwalala Primary into a hub for community-led action.
All our school projects start with an intensive Permaculture workshop that orients students, staff, and parents with permaculture design. This is a vital first step that allows communities to co-design solutions to a range of development challenges. The main focus at this school was:
1. Food and Nutrition – The school allocated over six acres of land to grow a wide range of fruits and vegetables that will contribute towards a school-run breakfast program. The garden is being gradually expanded through the community’s efforts so that the school can produce crops at a sustainable scale.
2. Eco-Sanitation – We have constructed two composting toilets and three large urinals at each of these schools. In addition to easing chronic issues with health and sanitation, these toilets are able to hygienically provide compost for each school’s fruit orchards.
3. Solar Electricity- We have provided the school with solar systems that can provide classrooms with powerful lighting, as well as power small appliances.
4. Water Harvesting – The school has a 20,000 litre rainwater harvesting system in order to collect water for hygiene and irrigation purposes.
Key Project Impacts
Food and Nutrition – School children receive daily breakfast via a community-operated meal program. This uses inputs from the school’s own 6 acre- farm and orchard. The school administration claims that the meal program is a huge incentive for students to attend school regularly, and now reports a 95% attendance rate (previously 75%).
Eco-Sanitation –Students now have access to hygienic and eco-friendly toilets, the manure from the toilets is safely used in the school’s orchards. An average of 400 kgs of organic manure is produced through this system per year.
Solar Electricity- Provides lighting for night classes. An average of 87 students benefitted from regular night classes held at the school at night. These sessions are aimed at senior students sitting for high school entrance exams. School staff state that this has improved the pass rate from 65% to 85%.
Water Harvesting – The school uses its 20,000L rainwater harvesting system in order to collect water for sanitation (particularly useful for handwashing stations during the pandemic), and for irrigating the garden during the dry season.
Ecosystem Health – 74 fruit and indigenous shade trees survived to the end of the project (115 planted at the onset), improving local biodiversity.
Influencing agricultural practices -Approximately 26 farmers surrounding the school was identified as having adopted a range of sustainable agriculture practices e.g. mulching, intercropping, composting.