Literacy is a huge problem throughout Malawi and while rates are improving slowly over the last number of years, much work still needs to to be done in this area. The Charchar Trust is an NGO, that focuses on doing just that – improving the literacy levels of thousands of underprivileged children across Malawi. One of their main recent initiatives was devising and implementing an early literacy intervention programme, working with children in standards 1 and 2 (the Irish equivalent of Junior and Senior Infants) and teaching them the basic sounds, phonics and sight words necessary for them to succeed at English reading and writing. Matandani School in Malawi, one of the schools that took part in this intervention programme, has an average of 250 students per year group, making it extremely difficult for children to succeed in literacy in school. The Charchar Trust’s intervention programme meant that trained teachers could teach smaller groups of approximately 20 children at a time, ensuring literacy success.
The success of the programme has been backed up by outstanding test results and data; after engaging with the programme for the past year, children in Matandani’s standard 1 scored an average of 41 out of a possible 61 in their national literacy exam, compared to 5.5 out of 61, which is the national average in Malawi. Matandani’s standard 2 have had equal success and as a result, we are keen to continue this programme next year, along with extending it into standard 3. The cost of continuing this programme next year is €6,000 (6 teachers, 2 each at standards 1, 2 and 3, each receiving a yearly salary of €1,000). Current fundraising has already raised an amazing €2,000 and hopefully, with the kindness and generosity of people, we will be able to raise (or as close to as possible), the remaining €4,000 to continue this fantastic, successful programme again, in Matandani school this coming year.
Standard 1 – testing @Matandani
Standard 2 – testing @Matandani