News / Africa

Malawi Primary School Plants Trees to Sustain School Feeding Program

Lameck Masina
For eleven years, the international NGO Mary’s Meals has been feeding young students.  Today, that list includes about 593,000 learners in 421 selected primary schools in Malawi.  Each day, they usually receive hot porridge made from maize flour mixed with salt and sugar.
 
The aim is to increase enrolment for children who fail to attend classes because of hunger in their families. 
 
Despite the program’s success in increasing primary schools enrolment levels, NGO officials say one of the major challenges facing the program is lack of firewood for preparing student meals. 

Students in Kanje school celebrate after eat porridge (Mary's Meals)Students in Kanje school celebrate after eat porridge (Mary's Meals)
x
Students in Kanje school celebrate after eat porridge (Mary's Meals)
Students in Kanje school celebrate after eat porridge (Mary's Meals)
Chloe Melrose is the Communications and Child Protection Officer for the NGO.
 
“The challenge," she says, "is that a lot of schools especially in the urban areas struggle to access firewood because in a lot of townships within the cities there is no space for trees, there is no space for vegetation. Almost every piece of land is built on so there is not much scope for trees there so these areas suffer in accessing firewood.”
 
Statistics show that an estimated 95 percent of the population in Malawi rely on firewood.
 
This has resulted in severe deforestation, with firewood consumption largely exceeding that of the sustainable supply.
 
Environmentalists say that once a densely populated space, now only 27 percent of total land area in Malawi is under forest cover. 
 
Melrose says to ease the problem, the NGO buys wood from designated plots, and delivers it to the schools. 
 
She also says since 2012 the NGO is constructing brick stoves in all school kitchens.  The new equipment uses on average use six kilograms less firewood per pot of porridge than the portable steel rocket stoves used in schools’ own kitchens.
 
Among the primary schools under the project is Kanje in the southern district of Chiradzulu.
 
Its head teacher Profit Matiti told VOA that the firewood shortage is compounded by the increase in children which has almost doubled after the introduction of the schools feeding program.

“Before the [schools] feeding program, " says Matiti, "there were only 200 learners but now the enrollment has gone up but at least half to 525.”
 
Matiti says it is against this background that has forced the school to find new ways of getting firewood, and using it efficiently.

In Malawi, students plant trees in the woodlot of Kanje primary school (Photo: Mary's Meals)In Malawi, students plant trees in the woodlot of Kanje primary school (Photo: Mary's Meals)
x
In Malawi, students plant trees in the woodlot of Kanje primary school (Photo: Mary's Meals)
In Malawi, students plant trees in the woodlot of Kanje primary school (Photo: Mary's Meals)
“We sat down with the schools management committee, schools administration and we introduced a way of establishing a woodlot. So as I am talking we have a woodlot which is just around the school to ease the problem of firewood so that we should not face problem with the [schools] feeding program,”  says Matti.

He says since the woodlot is a long term measure, the school is currently making do with dried branches of trees brought by well-wishers from areas surrounding the school. But he says sometimes students go without a hot meal due to a lack of firewood for cooking
 
Mary Meals run similar school feeding programs in 16 countries round the world including Haiti, Kenya, Zambia, India and Ukraine.

Listen to report on school feeding programs in Malawi
Listen to report on school feeding programs in Malawi i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid