This year, children using the tablets on the Unlocking Talent initiative achieved an overall 45% improvement on learning gains compared to children receiving conventional teaching. An estimated 77.5% women and girls had reduced stress levels and 70.4% women and girls were able to meet health care costs. A further 95% of women and girls had increased decision power and there was a 69% reduction in cases of gender based violence.
Only 35% of Malawian children complete primary school. With only one teacher to every 80 pupils in Malawi, even the best educators struggle to deliver lessons that engage every student to reach their potential. Although primary education is free, poverty, crowded classrooms and lack of resources lead to a high drop-out rate.
VSO works with the Government of Malawi, schools and teachers to improve access to quality education for all children. We do this by helping deliver better policies and learning environments.
VSO’s Unlocking Talent project provides schools in Malawi with solar-powered tablet technology programmed with bespoke local-language apps for numeracy and literacy. We train teachers to use the technology in their classes and support their pupils to develop these vital skills through simple, engaging lessons.
- 84,317 people benefited from VSO’s work to improve access to quality education in Malawi last year
- An independent evaluation of our Unlocking Talent project found that children who took part in the scheme had made the same amount of educational progress in eight weeks as they would previously have made in a year.
- Examination results have gone up and children are reporting their enthusiasm to go to school, stay in school and improve their numeracy and literacy skills.
"The students participate really well and they are very attentive. I can see it making improvements with our children. In the second week of the project I already saw a change. They are rarely absent now because they don’t want to miss those classes!”
Stembile Naming’ona, teacher, Biwi Primary School, Malawi
10% of Malawi’s population are living with HIV. Women are most affected – around 60% of adults living with HIV in Malawi are female. Early pregnancy is common and means many girls never finish school.
We work through local partners and volunteers to improve access to sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls. We provide women and girls with the information they need to make empowered choices about their sexual and reproductive health.
- Across the areas of Malawi VSO works in, the number of girls leaving school early because of early pregnancy more than halved last year
- In Chididi, 28 girls were withdrawn from early marriages and re-entered into education last year, and the number of young people accessing youth friendly health services more than doubled.
Agriculture and climate change
Agriculture is the backbone of Malawi’s economy, but limited access to global markets and low profitability mean those who work in agriculture find themselves stuck in chronic poverty – while the effects of climate change make income ever more unreliable.
We work with farmers and communities to help them better manage natural resources, become more resilient to the effects of climate change and ensure their incomes.
- Communities are planting trees to replace lost woodland and adopting new farming practices which increase food production and sustainability
- VSO’s delivery of future scenario planning sessions led to a positive change in attitude and behaviour of participants, and increased protection of natural resources
- As part of the Improving Market Access for the Poor programme in the Ntcheu region, VSO has set up six farmers’ cooperatives help farmers mitigate against climate change, and increase their output using sustainable techniques and machinery
Accelerating learning through tablet technology
Children have completed a year's worth of learning in just eight weeks using tablet technology
Making the village a safe place to give birth: sharing midwifery skills in Malawi
UK midwife trainer Beth Connelly is spending a year at a hospital in rural Malawi sharing vital midwifery skills with more than 200 students
What makes VSO different?
VSO excellent development results in Malawi are thanks to the productive partnerships and rich organisational knowledge behind some of the most innovative development projects in the country today.
An independent evaluation of our Unlocking Talent project found that children who took part in the scheme had made the same amount of educational progress in eight weeks as they would previously have made in a year.
Through our partnership with the Tropical Health & Education Trust (THET), skilled and experienced midwives share their vital skills and reduce the number of mothers and babies needlessly dying in childbirth.
If you would like to find out more about how you can work with VSO in Malawi, we’d love to hear from you.
VSO’s valued funding partners in Malawi include UNICEF, Comic Relief and the Scottish Government. We develop research and partnerships together such as with the University of Nottingham and social enterprise onebillion.
We have good relationships with government bodies including the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
Our local implementing partners range from government ministries, to NGOs, to village health clinics. Through our support last year, partners made improvements in:
- Children’s access to quality learning
- Women’s access to better health care, services and information
- Community resilience in the face of climate change
- Market system awareness
- Income enhancement for farmers
Find out more about partnering with VSO Malawi by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tel: +265 1 795 499, +265 1 795 492, +265 1 795 494.
Interested in volunteering in Malawi?
Find out more and see volunteer roles available now.