Mphanga Primary School is a school of 1,500 pupils in Malawi’s Mchinji District. As of 2020, parents of pupils and staff at the school decided to partner with Empower Projects to improve the wellbeing of students and the ecological health of their land.
As is so often the case in rural schools across Malawi, Mphanga Primary School lacks crucial infrastructure and services such as electricity, running water, and adequate sanitation facilities. It is also common for the majority of the school’s children to attend classes on an empty stomach. As we’ve demonstrated through our projects in Kapita and Kasungu, we are committed to working alongside local communities to change this for the better!
Despite the challenges posed by the prevailing pandemic, we are happy to report that we’ve made significant progress in supporting Mphanga Primary School’s journey towards greater sustainability.
- Permaculture Training
The first step in our partnership centers on bringing students, staff, and parents together to conduct a 3-day permaculture workshop. This centers on introducing the key principles of permaculture and forming a community action plan for a school garden-based on them. This is an exciting time as it enables community members across age and gender to collaborate in designing a garden that will benefit both present and future generations. The focus is on harnessing indigenous knowledge, fostering practical skills, and appreciating local assets and challenges. Our project manager Bright Msuku (a certified permaculture instructor) trained 85 community participants in permaculture in November.
2. Tree Planting
The second step in our partnership has involved an intensive tree planting initiative at the school. Thanks to generous contributions from our supporters, we were able to donate 900 seedlings to Mphanga Primary (600 fruit trees, 300 shade trees). The community was buzzing with excitement as they could recognize how transformative this planting exercise could be – bringing in fruits for a future meal program, improving local biodiversity, and providing much-needed shade. We timed this project to align with the upcoming rains to give these plants the best possible chance of survival. Beyond just planting these trees, our long-term partnership with the school helps us ensure that the local community is able to care for their emerging food forest.
Despite a challenging year, Mphanga Primary School is off to a great start with their permaculture project. We look forward to sharing their journey across 2021, where other vital needs such as electricity, water, and sanitation will be addressed alongside the expansion of their school garden.
If you’d like to support these efforts, we’d value your support.